If you’re a dog lover, the idea of being separated from your furry friend when on a holiday or day trip can be all too much to think about, so lots of people let their dog come along for the ride.

However, taking your dog for a ride in the car can have some risks, especially in weather like the recent heat wave we’ve experienced. Many people forget how hot the inside of a car gets, and will leave their dog unattended in the car, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

This behaviour might make your dog seriously ill or even worse, cause death. Dogs easily get thirsty in a car, and leaving them locked in a parked car only heightens their level of dehydration. However, there are a few things that you can do whilst on your journey to ensure your canine pal has a cool and comfortable trip.

Never leave your dog alone in the car

Even if it’s for a few minutes, the temperature of a car increases greatly when stationary, especially when in direct sunlight. This can be very uncomfortable for your dog, so spending an extra few minutes getting your dog out of the car and taking him with you can save the health of your pet.

Parking in the shade or leaving the window open doesn’t make leaving your dog in the car any safer, so no matter what, always take your pooch with you!

Keep your dog cool, even whilst driving

Do what you can to keep your dog cool. Treat them like a child – you wouldn’t let your baby go without water or sit in direct sunlight, and your dog shouldn’t suffer too! Invest in a window shade for your car and leave the window open slightly to increase air flow if you don’t have air conditioning in the car.

Provide your dog with a supply of water too. Dogs don’t cool down as quickly as humans so will need a lot of water if you’re travelling some distance. If you’re worried that providing your dog with water in the car will be messy, invest in a non-spill water bowl like the Road Refresher.

Protect your pet

Even if you carry out all these precautions, just like humans, dogs can get sick from the heat and may require a vet’s attention. If you haven’t already, investing in good pet insurance can cover you if your dog unexpectedly falls ill. Depending on the policy you opt for, it can cover your pet for all sorts of things from simple scraps to major accidents and cover when travelling abroad.

Don’t ignore dogs in distress

If you see a dog left alone in a car and they’re panting for breath, don’t ignore it -dial 999 immediately. All animal owners have a legal duty to care for their pet, and if their dog is suffering in an overheated car this could cause the owner to face persecution. Visit the RSPCA’s website for more information about what to do if you find a dog alone in a car.