Dog owners reminded not to leave pets in hot cars as heatwave approaches

Dog owners are being reminded to consider their dogs’ safety as forecasters predict sunny weather is on the way.

Temperatures could hit the high 20s this weekend, and road safety charity GEM Motoring Assist has pointed out that it is illegal to leave an animal in a car in such conditions.

Neil Worth, the charity’s chief executive, said: “If the dog becomes ill or dies, you are likely to face a charge of animal cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

“This offence can bring a prison sentence of up to six months and/or a fine of up to £20,000.”

If you can leave your pet at home that’s the easiest way to keep them safe, but it’s only normal for motorists to want to take their pets on weekends away. Therefore, GEM has outlined steps you can take to protect your animal if they must travel with you.

The first step is to make sure they have plenty of fresh drinking water and a bowl to help keep them cool on a long journey. You should also make sure they are restrained by placing them in a travel basket or buying a pet travel harness.

If you’re travelling further afield, make sure to stop more often than normal to let your dog get some fresh air and take them to a shady spot to cool down if possible. If your dog starts showing signs of heatstroke, such as excessively panting, constantly drinking or getting a fever, take them to a vet immediately.

GEM also suggests being on the lookout for distressed dogs in other cars. If you spot a dog left in a hot car outside a supermarket or service station, you should take note of the vehicle type and registration plate and ask for an announcement to be made.

If the owner doesn’t come back to the car and you cannot locate them, you should call the police on 999.