Dogs in Hot Cars

I know we are heading out of the summer but I think this is a very important issue ALL year round. This topic deserves it’s own article and I think this message needs to get out to every dog owner

I’ll explain why…

My experience…

During the Windsor Show this year (Read my blog here) on the 27th, 28th, 29th and the 30th of June you can imagine it was a rather hot time of the year, as much as it has been the last few months as you may know!

People starting to pack away.
People starting to pack away at Windsor to the car park.

A big problem the whole committee face every year was this issue and I’m proud to be in a committee that was one of the first to have an absolutely zero tolerance with dogs in cars. Doesn’t matter if the clouds are blocking the sun, the boot and windows are open or even if it’s raining, zero tolerance means zero tolerance.

The procedure goes;

1. Identify the dog, breed, number, ventilation, temperature (we have heat scanners), water available and whether the dog is in distress.

2. We then stay by the car, report it to the admin office where the dog will be called out on the tannoy several times and request the owner to come imminently until further action is taken.

3. If no one comes within 10 minutes approx, the show manager, Mr. Gary Grey immediately stops the judging of that particular breed and notifies everyone of the incident. Judging will stop until the dog has been collected.

4. If the owner still hasn’t claimed the dog back then the police will be notified and further action is taken.

Since I’ve been at Windsor (2 years now) we had a stage 3 incident once and that was it. Fortunately no dogs were harmed but you can’t be too careful.

The main priority of any dog show should be the welfare of dogs.

I’d just like to say though that 99.5% of the people who do go to our shows follow those rules and do care for the welfare of the animals. We are a nation of dog lovers after all and I stick by that. It’s just that 0.5% that either don’t care or are not aware of the potential harm it can bring to the animal and that still means that the message has to get out. One fatality is one too much and when you think of the damage it does to a dog internally as it’s being cooked alive in a car. That in itself would make any dog owner realise how excruciating that would be for a dog.

I’ve waited by cars until the owner comes back numerous times during Windsor. Sadly, very few of them genuinely apologise and cooperate. Perhaps it’s the humiliation or knowing that they are in the wrong and find it difficult to admit it, who knows? My job is to ensure no dog dies today.

Even if it’s raining, or below 15C, in my mind, it’s about principle and the rules still apply in any circumstances. Any moment the sun can come out and I’ve seen the temperature rise dramatically, if someone is indoors for hours at a time, unaware of the weather it can be incredibly dangerous. Once the message at ALL championship shows gets out. Even if the policy saves just one dog, its worth it. 

Even if the policy saves just one dog, its worth it.

If one person gets confused and puts a dog in a car because someone else did it at another show when it was much colder etc. etc. it causes confusion. The only way to solve this is zero tolerance.

Solving this issue… What do you think?

Here are some of the many posters from various animal groups;


Whether it should be a Kennel Club regulation for all shows and have some sort of disciplinary warning procedure for those who do it more than once, who knows? It’s up to the members and people involved to voice their opinion. Personally, I see no reason why they shouldn’t until someone explains to me otherwise.

Before we do anything, education is critical, getting the message out is vital.


What do you think? Have you had any experiences with dogs in hot cars at a shopping centre? Car park? In the street, perhaps? What do you think needs to be done to tackle this problem? I’ve heard many great suggestions but I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below!

9 thoughts on “Dogs in Hot Cars

  1. I agree with zero tolerance at all shows. We were at Windsor on the 30th June and lucky enough to park under a tree and have an estate car which has got a caged tailgate that enables us to lock the dogs in and keep the car tailgate open. Our dogs probably would have been cooler in the car but even if there hadnt been zero tolerance I wouldn’t have left them in the car. As you have said conditions can change and I would have worried the whole time.

    The show was well organised, our judge ensured the dogs weren’t in the full sun whilst in the ring, he judged speedily but efficiently with the least possible upset to the dogs. Compare that to a dog cooking in a car.

    It was patently obvious by all the signs at Windsor that there was zero tolerance with regards to dogs in cars. I was upset to hear calls over the tannoy requesting owners remove dogs from cars.

    It’s common sense that dogs cook in cars yes everyone should try to educate owners about this but I think the KC should penalise owners at dog shows who leave their dogs to bake.

    If dogs are suffering in parked cars elsewhere someone should break a window and release the dogs

  2. Glad to hear you had a good experience at the show, Sharon!

    It’s been wonderful seeing other Championship shows following the same procedures. It’s a shame though the fact that you can only put up so many signs and people STILL ignore them, it’s on the entry forms too and we constantly remind exhibitors via social media.

    1. Mark,

      It is because the fact that despite there being plenty of signs that were ignored by some exhibitors that I think the Kennel Club should administer disciplinary procedures. The welfare of dogs is paramount and those of us that show should set an example to others

  3. I agree the issue is an important one, but I do think zero tolerance is more than a little overkill – whatever happened to using a bit of common sense? I leave my dogs in my car on occasion, and as long as it’s not freezing cold and/or raining my tailgate is either ventlocked at ~20″ or fully open, plus all windows are open ~4″ below the wind deflectors, plus I use sun shades. There has never been a problem when I’ve done this. Even on days when I’ve left my (empty) car like this for the full day, it’s been cooler inside it than outside – even when sitting in full sun and 20’C+, and yet you’re here saying its better to have dogs suffer the heat of the day than relax in a shaded and cool environment? Madness!

    1. You raise a good point Sam. In terms with outside the dog showing world, yes, common sense goes a long way and providing the conditions are right I think that’s absolutely fine. I’m only speaking in terms with Windsor Ch. Show, we have facilities where dogs can be inside in the cool and what’s even better is that they are looked after by someone representing a breed charity ALL day.

      But at big championship shows I think it’s more about the message. I’m sure from the sounds of it, you seem very sensible and logical when tackling these issues but sadly not everyone has common sense, you’d be surprised. If one person is allowed to get away with it, then people will assume it’s okay for them too and that’s where the problems occur. I’ve seen cool cars rise dramatically in the heat from 10C to over 35C in the matter of minutes if the sun comes out, people can easily forget this, especially when they are the other side of a showground showing their other dogs.

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