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Paws for thought to keep dogs cool this summer

ŠKODA’s ‘Cool Dogs in Cool Cars’ campaign gives advice to pet owners in the midst of Britain’s longest heatwave
›   A car can reach 47 degrees Celsius when it’s just 22 degrees Celsius outside  
›   Images feature star paw-formances by RSPCA rescue dogs

Britain is experiencing a scorcher of a summer with temperatures soaring into the thirties during July. Forecasts are expected to stay sunny and hot, which is good news for sun-seekers but the heat can make family dogs feel very hot under the collar.

The current heatwave has led to a surge in calls to the RSPCA. The animal charity has received 2,835 calls over the past month from concerned members of the public, the majority of which related to dogs left in cars.

Temperatures in cars can rise very quickly. Even at a comfortable 22 degrees Celsius outside, a car can reach an unbearable 47 degrees Celsius in under an hour. A dog can die within minutes in a hot car, warning that owners should never risk leaving their dog in the car, even for short periods.

To help raise awareness, ŠKODA has created a series of pictures called ‘Cool Dogs in Cool Cars’ featuring RSPCA rescue dogs, to show pet owners that they should never leave a dog alone in a vehicle. When driving the advice is to always keep windows open or use air conditioning to keep pooches in maximum comfort.

“Our pet dogs are part of the family so it’s great that so many families choose to take their canine companion with them on holiday and for days out,” RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Richards said.

“If you face a long journey with your four-legged friend it’s really important to make sure everyone is safe, secure and comfortable for the duration of the drive.”

ŠKODA is known for its pet practicalities and all cars feature ample boot and cabin space for a comfortable journey. Dog accessories such as the dog seatbelt and hammock are part of the ŠKODA accessories range and are easily fitted to the seatbelts and head rests so that pets can ride safely.

In 2017, the RSPCA received 7,876 calls about animals left in hot environments.

There are things that drivers can do this summer to ensure their pets are safe while travelling, no matter what the distance:

1. Never leave your dog alone in the vehicle so they don’t get anxious or overheat

2. In hot weather, always leave the window slightly open when driving to provide fresh air for your dog. Summer can be a very dangerous time for dogs on their travels

3. Always carry food and water with you to keep your dog hydrated

4. Invest in appropriate pet restraints, such as a pet barrier or seat belt, to ensure your dog remains in the back of the car throughout your journey

5. On long journeys and hot days, take regular breaks to provide water for your dog

6. Where possible exercise your dog with a short walk during your breaks

7. When the vehicle is moving, don’t let a dog hang its head outside car windows, no matter how much they enjoy it!

8. Before embarking on a long journey, take your dog on short journeys to get them used to travelling in the car

9. Keep a close eye on your pet when travelling to make sure they are not showing signs of travel-related problems such as barking, whining, jumping, salivating, vomiting, cowering or restlessness

10.  If your dog is nervous when travelling use reward-based training methods. If you continue to have problems visit your vet or a clinical animal behaviourist

11.  Make sure there aren’t any loose items that could harm your dog in the boot or on the back seat of your car

12.  Bring their favourite blanket or toy to help relax your dog

13.  Dogs travel better without a full stomach so it’s best to feed them more than two hours before you set off

14.  Travelling crates, dog guards and car harnesses safely secure your pet when travelling. Ensure that the crate is big enough for your dog and is positioned somewhere with good airflow so they don’t get too hot

15.  If you see a dog in a car on a warm day and are concerned for his/her welfare please alert the police by dialling 999

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