Hospitals' plea for visitors not to leave dogs in cars

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is asking dog owners to avoid bringing their dogs to its hospitals and leaving them in their cars – a practice that can lead to serious illness and even death.

The Trust's hospitals, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and Cromer Hospital, have both had incidents recently of patients and visitors leaving dogs in their cars whilst they either attend an appointment or visiting friends or relatives.

The hospital trust is asking that visitors and patients avoid bringing their dogs to its hospitals but instead to leave them at home or with a friend or neighbour.

Normal body temperature for dogs is around 38.5C/101.4F; a dog can only withstand a high body temperature for only a short time before suffering. Dogs can die from heatstroke in as little as 20 minutes.

In warm, sunny weather cars become ovens and even if it’s cloudy, the temperature inside a car can become dangerously hot for a dog. When it is just 22°C (72°F) outside, the temperature inside a car can soar to 47°C (117°F) or even higher.

• If a dog left in a car is panting for breath, it may be starting to suffer from heatstroke. This could kill the dog very quickly.
• Leaving the car windows open or putting a bowl of water inside does not help.
• Temperatures in air conditioned cars can reach the same as the outside air temperature within just five minutes of air conditioning being turned off.
• Owners who put an animal at risk by leaving it locked inside a car can face prosecution.

If we get reports of dogs left in cars we will be reporting these to the police and the RSPCA who will take action. If you do see a dog in distress please contact the RSPCA 24 hour national cruelty and advice line on 0300 1234 999.

Friday 21st of May 2010 03:00:31 PM