26 July 2018
With temperatures hot enough to soften tarmac, the AA and chocolatier Choccywoccydoodah have joined forces to highlight the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars, even for a few minutes.
The two companies filmed a solid 7kg white chocolate Fox Terrier named Coco, which was left inside an AA van on a slightly overcast summer's day in July.
Within half an hour Coco showed signs of distress as his nose and mouth melted away. Soon after he had lost both of his ears as well as his face. It took a total of three and a half hours for Coco to melt completely, with temperatures reaching a sweltering 42.8 Celsius within the cabin.
The partnership comes after the AA attended an average of three pets locked in vehicles a day last summer.
With the Met Office issuing a heatwave warning for this week it's a timely reminder of how dangerous and fatal leaving a dog in a car can be.
Figures compiled by AA technical experts show that 27°C is enough to increase the ground temperature to the point that it will soften tarmac, leading to ruts and cracks forming on road surfaces.
Inside a stationary car the temperatures can rise above 60˚C - hot enough to cook an egg. Even when the outside temperature begins to drop, the heat can still continue to increase inside the car for half an hour.
Overseen by Vince and Yogi
The experiment was overseen by the AA’s patrol of the year, Vince Crane and his chocolate Labrador, Yogi.
Crane comments; “Us dog owners love being out and about with our four legged friends, but I still get calls to rescue pets from locked cars every now and then.
Less than 20 minutes can be fatal
“While our chocolate dog took around three and a half hours to completely melt, a real dog would be in severe stress in a fraction of that time – less than 20 minutes can prove fatal*.
“Opening the windows or parking in the shade is not enough protection for dogs, so the best thing to do is take them with you, even if it’s just for a short time.
Opening the windows or parking in the shade is not enough protection for dogs, so the best thing to do is take them with you, even if it’s just for a short time
“Coco was so realistic it was a shame to melt him really. But he highlights just how dangerous it can be if you leave a dog locked in a car on a hot day.”
A cool place at home
Christine Taylor from Choccywoccydoodah says: “Animals are badly affected by excessive heat. Either take them with you when you leave the car or leave them in a cool place at home with plenty of water. The same goes for chocolate!”
Animals are badly affected by excessive heat. Either take them with you when you leave the car or leave them in a cool place at home with plenty of water. The same goes for chocolate!
Tips for travelling with pets this summer
- There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a traffic jam with the mercury rising, so check the traffic reports before you leave. Where possible, avoid travelling at peak times and during the heat of the day to minimise the time spent sitting in a hot car
- Pack plenty of supplies to keep everyone well hydrated – not forgetting water for any pets and at least a litre per person
- Use sun blinds on the windows or, if you don’t have air conditioning, open a window a little to allow a cool breeze to circulate in the vehicle. If you do have air conditioning, make sure you have sufficient fuel so that you can keep it running
- Plan in regular stops to break up the journey. Take care not to leave pets alone in the car during the hot weather - take them with you when you stop
- Be careful not to close all the doors unless you are sure you have the keys, as they can easily become locked in
Children locked in cars
AA patrols are called to an average 5 incidents a day where they find a distraught parent whose child is locked in the car.
This is upsetting at any time of year but potentially very dangerous in hot weather.
Keep your keys with you at all times and never leave children alone in the car, whatever the weather.
*According to the DogsTrust