Longford pet-owners warned not to leave dogs in cars during hot weather

ISPCA warns of the dangers of heat stroke in pets

Jessica Thompson


Jessica Thompson



Longford pet-owners warned not to leave dogs in cars during hot weather

Leaving a dog in a car in hot weather can lead to death - even with the window left open

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) has this morning warned Longford pet-owners to look after their pets in the hot weather.

Today's weather, according to Met Éireann, will once again be hot, with sunny spells and variable cloud. Temperatures are set to reach between 21 and 25 degrees in the province of Leinster.

The ISPCA has appealed to pet-owners to be mindful of high temperatures when it comes to the well-being of their pets.

“We all love the sunshine, but it is important to be aware that our pets can suffer from excessive heat and dehydration very quickly and we would like to remind pet owners that dogs can die if left in hot cars so please know the signs of overheating," ISPCA Public Relations Manager Carmel Murray told the Longford Leader this morning.

"These include excessive panting, increased heart rate, dry or pale gums and weakness or collapse. To avoid overheating, try not to overexert your pet on walks (exercise early morning and late evening is ideal) and make sure they always have access to fresh water and a shady spot to sit in."

And, according to the ISPCA, leaving pets in cars can be extremely dangerous for the pets. Temperatures in cars can rise extremely quickly within 15 minutes, which is more than enough time for a dog to get heat stroke, which can cause brain damage or death within minutes - so even a quick run into the shop can be dangerous for your pet.

"Pet owners often think leaving a window open is sufficient for their pet but this is not enough to prevent heatstroke under intense sunshine which can have fatal consequences," said Carmel.

"It is important to be aware of the dangers that can be caused by leaving a dog unattended in a vehicle during hot weather, even for 10 minutes can prove to be fatal so please look after your pets during the hot spell. Please enjoy the summer sunshine responsibly with your pets.”

ISPCA tips for looking after your pet in hot weather

1. Know the signs of overheating: these include excessive panting, increased heart rate, dry or pale gums and weakness or collapse.

2. To avoid overheating, don't overexert your pet on walks - morning or evening walks are best - and make sure they always have access to fresh water and a shady spot to sit in.

3. Do not leave your dog in the car - not even for a few minutes. Dogs can die if left in hot cars and leaving a window open is not enough to prevent this in intense sunshine. Even 10 minutes in a hot car can prove fatal.

4. If your pet is showing signs of severe overheating, move him or her to a cooler area immediately and spray with cool (not cold) water. Give him or her a small drink of water and contact your vet immediately.

5. The summer sun can be fun for everyone, but please do plan in advance if you plan to bring your pet anywhere and ensure that they will not be left in the car.

6. Please also be mindful of common chemicals that may be in your home this summer, as these can be toxic to pets.

What to do if you see a pet left in a hot car

1. If the pet looks to be in immediate danger, alert the authorities immediately. Call the nearest Garda Station and the ISPCA (1890 515 515) or other local animal welfare organisation and then wait beside the car for help.

2. Take down the registration number of the car. If it is parked outside a supermarket or business, ask someone to wait by the car while you go inside and look for the owner, or ask staff to use the intercom to call him or her out to the car immediately.

3. Don't leave the scene. Keep an eye out for symptoms of heat stroke - restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, dark tongue, rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting, and lack of coordination.

4. Under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 authorised officers can use reasonable force to effect entry in order to exercise their powers. An Authorised Officer is defined in the act as ”a member of the Garda Síochána, an officer of Customs and Excise, or a person appointed under section 37 (which includes ISPCA Inspectors)”.

**NOTE: If you break into the car yourself, you could leave yourself open to legal action. Be aware of this if considering taking action in an emergency.**

5. Once the dog is out of the car, the situation isn't over yet. You, or the authorities present should get the animal into a cool place immediately, and provide a drink of cool water.

6. Spread awareness. Share this post on social media, or take action to ensure as many people as possible know the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars.

ISPCA tips for summer events

The summer also brings a whole host of fun and fabulous events for us, but some of these can be noisy and disruptive for your pets. Please bear in mind some tips on how to manage your pet's stress in the event that there are fireworks or loud events in your area. 

Noise and commotion can be very distressing to some pets, and may drive them to unusual or extreme behaviour.

1. The ISPCA recommend strongly that you have your pets microchipped as a permanent form of identification, and ensure that your details are always up to date.

2. You should also have an ID tag, and together these forms of identification make it much more likely you will be reunited with your beloved pet in the event they escape.

3. You can leave a TV or radio on to drown out some of the noise of fireworks or events.

4. Pets should have somewhere to hide where they feel secure if frightened by loud noise, so a quiet room in the house will help with closed curtains and music or TV noise playing.

5. Licking objects, like a toy filled with peanut butter can help reduce stress, as can playing with your pet if they are up for a game. If not, do not try to force them to play.

6. If your pet is truly terrified of loud noise and you are concerned about them, you may want to consult with your vet in advance, and ask them about training or medication to help with your pet's stress.

To report cruelty, neglect or abuse to an animal, you can report in confidence online here (click the link) or call the ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515.