How To Keep Your Dog Cool In A Hot Car - Top Tips
KEEPING YOUR DOG COOL IN A HOT CAR IS VITALLY IMPORTANT. MAKING THE WRONG DECISIONS CAN HAVE POTENTIALLY DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES. HERE’S WHAT TO DO.
We love dogs at Land Rover and so we have worked with the RSPCA to bring you this expert advice on keeping your dog cool in a hot car.
Remember, man’s best friend doesn’t have the ability to sweat like we do.
And while our profuse sweating makes us nobody’s best friend, leaving a panting dog in a hot car for even a minute puts their life at risk.
AIR CON OR WINDOWS?
Who doesn’t love seeing a dog’s head poking out of a car window, tongue flapping and ears in flight?
We hate to break it to you, but this isn’t the most effective way to cool your dog down. Or the safest.
When travelling at speed, bugs and gravel can get into your dog’s mouth, nose and eyes, causing infections.
It’s better to cool your dog down safely with some air con.
Air conditioning provides a steady stream of cold air, which is safer.
ARE THERE OTHER WAYS TO COOL DOWN?
In some cases cranking up the air con or lowering the windows still isn’t enough.
If your dog is in the boot, the cool air doesn’t always reach it.
Luckily there are some handy accessories to help.
You can buy cooling mats for your pooch can lie on, stretch and sleep, making it far more comfortable.
For the fashion-conscious among us, there are also cooling T-shirts, neck cowls and bandanas.
WATER BOWL IN THE BOOT?
Are we nearly there yet? I need a wee. I want a drink – just some of the choice phrases you’ll hear from the back seat on a long journey.
Not from a four-legged passenger though. Your dogs won’t tell you if they need a drink.
So try to plan your trip with dog-friendly stops in mind.
Giving your pet time to drink water, stretch their legs and relieve themselves will make it a better journey for everyone.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU SEE A DOG IN A HOT CAR?
If you see a dog alone in a hot car, first consider where the car is parked.
If it’s in a supermarket car park, take a note of the car’s registration number and ask the store to make an announcement.
If it’s in a pay-and-display, check the ticket on the dashboard to see how long the car has been parked.
If you think it is an emergency, call the police on 999 in the UK.
Don’t call the RSPCA – they don’t have the legal powers to break car windows.
The RSPCA received 7,876 calls in 2017 regarding hot dogs – that’s a lot of raised alarms they couldn’t do much about.
And please don’t break the window yourself, unless you’re willing to defend yourself in court if you’re charged with criminal damage.
HOW HOT IS TOO HOT?
How hot is too hot for your dog? Well, say the outside air temperature is 27C.
Your car is essentially a tightly sealed greenhouse. The temperature inside can reach 50C in a matter of minutes. Imagine that for a dog!
Follow this rule of thumb: if it’s likely to be 21C or above outdoors, leave your dog at home.
SYMPTOMS OF HEATSTROKE
Dogs pant when they’re hot, because they only have a few sweat glands in the pads of their feet.
Dogs easily suffer from heatstroke. You can tell when they start to pant and drool excessively and lose co-ordination.
When it gets worse, the dog will vomit or collapse.
To help it recover, move the animal into the shade and start to give it small amounts of cool water.
Whatever you do, don’t give them chilled water – it could send them into shock.
The other option is to wrap them in a cool, damp towel. Then call a vet.
CAR SAFETY FOR YOUR DOG
You wouldn’t dream of driving your car without a seatbelt. The same should go for your dog.
Special harnesses, crates and guards mean that if you do have to make an evasive manoeuvre, your dog will be secure. If you have two dogs, you can buy dividers to keep them safe from each other.
Make sure whatever you use has good ventilation so they don’t get too hot.
WHEN’S BEST TO TRAVEL?
Driving in the heat is never easy, especially if you hit a peak-time traffic jam.
If you can avoid it, try not to travel for long periods with your dog. And avoid journeys that aren’t necessary.
If you really need to travel a long distance, choose early morning or late evening when it’s cooler and the roads are quieter.
START THEM YOUNG…
If you have a puppy, try to take it on lots of short journeys to get them used to the turns, bumps and speed of the car.
They’ll get used to it and will become more confident and comfortable when riding along with you.
SNACKS AND TOYS?
The way to a dog’s heart is through its stomach. We suggest feeding your dog no less than two hours before your trip.
If you feed them en route they might be sick. No one wants to be on the hard shoulder in 30C heat clearing that up.
But cold treats can be a great way of cooling them down, especially with a fillable rubber dog toy.
Stuff it with your dog’s favourite and freeze it. Frozen carrots are a good idea as well.
DIFFERENT NEEDS FOR DIFFERENT BREEDS?
If you have a long-haired dog, make sure you keep their hair short and well-groomed. It matters more than you think!
White dogs will appreciate pet-safe sunscreen on their noses and the tips of their ears.
IT’S JUST NOT WORTH IT
When you’re in your car on a hot day with your dog, remember to BARK:
- Breaks at regular intervals
- Ample water
- Restraints in case of sudden braking
- Keep cool above all else
And whether it’s getting a pint of milk or picking up the kids from school, don’t leave your dog in the car – it’s just not worth the risk.
Treat your furry four-legged friend like you would your children. Without you they’re helpless and need your constant attention and diligence.
We have worked with the RSPCA to give you sound, expert advice on how to travel with your dog in the heat.
Follow the tips and have fun exploring with your dog.