The summer is finally here! Across the UK we’ll all be basking in glorious sunshine this week.

That glory, however, can turn painful quickly. We’re about to get some very high temperatures from today and throughout this week – we’re looking at a record 38 degrees in South East England.

If you’re out and about with your dog, it’s worth noting that the dangers of leaving your pet in the car can be life-threatening, especially in this record heat. Unlike humans who sweat, dogs do not, so they have a much harder time adjusting to the heat.

Many people still think that their dog will be OK in the car on a warm day as long as the windows are left open or it’s parked in the shade – but it won’t. According to RSPCA, at 22 degrees on a sunny day, a car can reach 47 degrees inside within an hour. You can only imagine how unbearable it could be sitting inside a car with twice the temperature.

If your dog is left in the car for too long, it’s likely to have a heatstroke which could be fatal.

What do I do if I see a dog in a hot car?

If you see a dog inside a hot car, check on them and look for signs of heatstroke. The dog will be panting heavily, drooling and will appear drowsy or might even be collapsed. If you can’t see the owner around, call 999.

If you find your pet this way after leaving them in your car, act fast. 

Firstly, move the dog to a cool area away from the sun. Pour some cool water on the dog or use some wet towels. Give plenty of water for the dog to drink and continue doing all of this until their breathing starts to settle.

Be aware of breaking into other people’s cars to free the dog. It’s often the first instinct but remember, this could be classed as criminal damage.

How can I prepare my pet for the heat?

Summer should be a fun time for your dog too. Just keep in mind they need help from you to do so. Prepare for the hot weather following these simple but effective tips:

  1. Don’t ever leave any type of animal in a hot car as temperatures rise very quickly.
  2.  Always carry plenty of water for your pet when out and about.
  3.  Buy some pet-safe sun cream on exposed skin.
  4. If available, add some ice cubes in water to help your pet cool down.
  5. Buy a small paddling pool for your pet or find a lake or a puddle for them to enjoy.

Whether going on a lengthy drive or a trip to the local supermarket, it’s always worth preparing to keep your pet safe at all times.

Not only the car but road pavements get very hot on summer days. As a rule of thumb, put your hand on the pavement for five seconds and if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s also too hot for paws.

Enjoy the heat – and take care of your best friend!