A thirst for knowledge… quite literally.

As promised, an additional post to discuss the concerning topical issue of dogs in hot cars and how to avoid dehydration, but first;

Yesterday, I visited Flamingo Land zoo. I worked alongside a skilled team who helped to care and prepare for the Parrot and Sea Lion performances. Having heard about my keen interest in a variety of work experiences, the zoo contacted me and offered me a part time job. Despite working in my own family Cafe, the zoo was understanding about the balance between the two jobs and school work. So I began with the birds and learnt a few things about general feeding and also about how important their weight is too how they perform. The information I gathered on the sea lions welfare was mainly gathered from the show itself as the main keeper described in detail about things such as mating seasons and survival skills. After the shows I made sure I quizzed him further, showing my admiration and interest in “his family”. I’m looking forward to my next shift where I will hopefully get more hand on and learn about the important training of the animals.
I chose to research “dogs in hot cars” as I have always struggled with this topic, watching the poor things scramble in their cars trying to find a shady spot as we stroll by with our dog. I received my provisional licence today, and so I thought that this was a good time to talk cars. Even if there is a window (partially) down, that doesn’t prevent the greenhouse effect taking hold inside a thermally conductive box on wheels;  the everyday car. On a hot day, around 22 degrees, in a car it can reach an unbearable 47 degrees within the hour.
So what should you do if you come across a trapped dog inside during a heatwave?
Don’t be afraid to call 999! Get in touch with the police and they’ll assess the issue and as to wether welfare assistance is required. Firstly, you should gather some information ready to inform the police. Establish the animal’s health/condition. If they’re displaying any signs of heatstroke, look no further and get on the phone to 999 immediately.
However, if the police cannot attend to your call, DO NOT force entry without assessing the circumstances of the dog as this could lead you into issues with criminal damage and possibly lead to a court case.
Although the courts can excuse you if you feel the dog is in a life or death situation and if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971).
To help you assess the situation, you should establish how long the dog had been in the car, for example a pay of display ticket. Secondly, take evidence through pictures, registration numbers. If the owner returns and you feel the dog may still be in danger, you may still report the issue to help prevent further distress to the dog.
The vital signs of heatstroke include:
panting heavily
drooling excessively
lethargy
drowsiness
collapse
vomiting
Dogs are in danger if they cannot regulate their temperature and cool down as they can develop heatstroke which can kill.

If a dog is displaying any signs of heatstroke, move them to a cool, shaded area and call a vet immediately.

For any other queries or concerns you can also call the RSPCAs cruelty line on 0300 1234 999. For more information on this issue please visit http://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/health/dogsinhotcars.
Dehydration is a major issue during the summer months and is has also be known to be under acknowledged by pet owners. Lack of water in the body, and can cause serious complications for pets. Making up 80% of a dog’s body’s water serves as the root of all his biological processes, including circulation, digestion and waste removal.

Fluid loss can be due to overheating in hot weather or a bout of vomiting or diarrhoea, especially in puppies. General symptoms are similar to those of heatstroke including: sunken eyes, lethary, loss of appetite, a dry mouth and depression. Anther indicator of dehydration can be shown by gently lifting the skin on the back of the dog’s neck/ between the shoulder blades—unless the dog is seriously overweight, it should immediately return to a normal position. To reduce the number of cases of dehydration, always have a water supply to offer your dog, clean water in good supply, with easy access and limited chance to spilling out of a bowl.

I hope my post has been helpful but most importantly I hope the awareness of this issue has been highlighted in good time before the number of cases increases over the summer.

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