SSPCA warning to Lochaber dog owners during hot weather

Scottish SCPA Don't leave your dog in car campaign Pic Peter Devlin

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Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals chief superintendent Mike Flynn has asked Lochaber dog owners to take extra care with their four-legged companions during the current high summer temperatures.

Mr Flynn says people should try imagining being trapped in an oven while wearing a fur coat to get some idea of how a dog can feel inside a hot car.

‘It only takes a few minutes for a dog to overheat in a hot vehicle and leaving a window open or a bowl of water is not good enough,’ he told the Lochaber Times this week.

‘Our message to dog owners in Fort William and elsewhere in Lochaber is simple – don’t risk it.

‘If you would be leaving the dog in the car, even on a warm, cloudy day, leave your pet at home with plenty water and adequate ventilation.

‘If your pet is outdoors, make sure there is shelter where they can get out of the sun.’

And he issued a stark warning: ‘Over the years, we have prosecuted people who have allowed dogs to die in hot cars. This is completely avoidable if everyone uses common sense and doesn’t risk it.

‘In one case in 2016, a Yorkshire terrier died from a cardiac arrest caused by heatstroke after just one hour inside a hot car.

‘A dog in a hot car is in serious and immediate danger and a member of our team will attend any reports of these as quickly as possible.

‘Please contact our animal helpline on 03000 999999 if you notice a dog left in a hot car.’

On the question of whether a member of the public, on finding a distressed dog locked inside a car on a hot day, should take action and break a window in the vehicle, Mr Flynn said this would not be recommended by Police Scotland.

‘Their advice is to contact them [Police Scotland] as soon as possible so they can take appropriate action. If you feel a dog is at risk of death and immediate access is needed to the vehicle, please call Police Scotland immediately on 101.’