The Kennel Club (KC) is warning dog lovers about the dangers of leaving their pets in cars as the UK prepares for a potential heatwave.

A level 2 heat-health alert has been issued by the Met Office, which has forecast potential heatwave conditions for parts of the south-east, London, the east of England, the east midlands and west midlands later this week.

Caroline Kisko, KC secretary, said: “Every year the KC hears of dogs being literally cooked to death inside hot cars, and the chance of this happening increases dramatically during a heatwave.

“In common with many animals, dogs are extremely sensitive to heat, more so than humans, and even on a mildly warm day they can quickly overheat, even with the car windows open and water available, as temperatures can rapidly heat up to around 50°C. This is accelerated significantly on scorching hot days.

“Tips on how to keep your dog safe during hot weather can be found on the KC website and we’d recommend owners are more vigilant than they might usually be until the heatwave is over.”

Next week, from July 21-27, is Be Dog Friendly Week, for which the KC is encouraging public places to trial a dog friendly policy, to avoid people having to leave dogs in cars or tied up outside if they pop out with their dog on a sunny day and find they cannot take them into the post office or bank for example.

“Dogs dying in hot cars is completely avoidable and it is just not worth the risk to leave a dog in a car for any amount of time,” said Caroline.

The KC has issued the following advice to keep dogs safe during the heatwave:

  • Always provide access to fresh, cool water and shade – preferably in a well-ventilated area.
  • Don’t expose your dogs to unnecessary heat – consider walking them early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the hottest parts of the day and take cool water with you on your walk. Also be aware high humidity can equally cause risk to a dog’s health.
  • Plan your days carefully and never leave a dog unattended in a car or tied up outside. Search for dog friendly places that are part of the KC’s Be Dog Friendly campaign and will allow dogs inside at
  • Never let your dog take part in unnecessary exertion in hot or humid weather, or stand in exposed sunlight for extended lengths of time.
  • Be aware of the signs of overheating in dogs, which include panting, disorientation, excessive thirst, dark gums, vomiting, diarrhoea and losing consciousness.
  • Never pass by a dog if you see one suffering in a car – whether it be in a supermarket car park or at the pub. Make sure you let someone in authority know and, if in doubt, call the police on 101 or the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.

What to do if your dog overheats:

  • Contact the vet immediately
  • Move the dog out of the heat
  • Offer the dog cool, rather than cold, water for small drinks if it is still conscious
  • If possible, fan the dog with cool air
  • Wrap in cool, damp towels or spray with cool, not cold, water – pay particular attention to the head
  • Cool the dog’s tongue by dabbing with a cold, damp cloth

To view the Kennel Club’s “Don’t cook your dog” video, visit or search “Don’t cook your dog” on YouTube.

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