We've all probably witnessed it ourselves, as we walk past a parked car and see the family's 'beloved' pet marooned in the back seat with its tongue hanging out and clearly in some distress. It's an all too common image, especially during the summer months as the temperature outside rises and that within the metal transporter increases even higher. The latest collaboration between a number of animal welfare charities and the Police aims to bring the issue of dog welfare into the forefront of people's minds.

The various charities involved in the campaign, including the RSPCA, are highlighting the potentially catastrophic outcome of leaving dogs in cars during the hotter months of the year.

As the traditional holiday season fast approaches, it is a timely reminder of the dangers of what is mainly an unintended form of cruelty to Animals. Nevertheless, it is still something that all the bodies involved come across far too regularly as they go about their daily duties.

Higher temperatures inside cars

Perhaps the starkest statistic to consider is that as the temperature outside rises to 22C (which is common even for a typical British summer), that within the car can be as high as 47C within just one hour. The advice is for people to be pro-active and assist in the protection of animals that they suspect are in distress, by calling 999 to report the incident. Many have heeded the advice in the past and as a result thousands of calls are fielded by the RSPCA and the police each year.

In Greater London alone 289 complaints were received last year.

RSPCA backing

Violet Owens, a campaigner for the RSPCA, backed up the warning to point out that everyone seems to think it only happens to other people's favourite pet. Yet ever summer "many people still gamble with dogs' lives and every summer dogs die in hot cars." She also warned that simply leaving the windows open or parking in the shade will not necessarily avoid a potential calamity.

Even if they don't die from the excess heat, they will probably suffer from anxiety and extreme discomfort.

Mass support

The sheer number of leading charities involved gives a strong indication of how strongly they all feel about the issue, with prevention being a far better approach than dealing with the aftereffects. Among the charities putting their efforts behind the campaign are a number of well-established organisations:


  • Battersea Dogs and Cats home

  • Blue Cross

  • PDSA

  • National Animal Welfare Trust

Besides the charitable organisations, the British Veterinary Association and the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) are also putting their weight behind the stark messages.

The NPCC warn dog owners that they could be at risk of prosecution should a dog suffer from being left in a car on a hot day.

Research by the British Veterinary Association indicated that 48% of the vets that questioned had treated animals last summer, where hot weather-related conditions were the cause. Among those cases, dogs were the main sufferers.