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Collected Advice on Dogs

Road Traffic Accidents

First of all, make sure that you are safe and that you and the car are visible to other drivers. Call the Police if you have hit a dog with a vehicle. This is a legal requirement throughout the UK. Similarly, if you find a dog at risk of running into traffic and potentially causing an accident, phone 999 with this information, which should prompt a response from someone capable of handling the situation.

Injured Dogs

If you find a dog that is injured, the SSPCA/RSPCA will be available to assist, and scan it for any microchips, to help identify and alert the owner.

SSPCA (Scotland): 03000 999 999

RSPCA (England & Wales): 0300 1234 999

Injured animals are often confused, frightened, and may bite or scratch. It can be dangerous for you to approach an animal, even domestic pets, such as dogs. Remember to be cautious and keep your distance. If it is safe to approach the animal and it is willing to let you near, then:

Make sure that you are safe. Be aware of traffic and other hazards.

Is the animal potentially heavier than you can handle? Is it possible to ask a neighbour or someone nearby for assistance.

Carefully move it to a safe place, using blankets and a muzzle if necessary. Walk slowly and be careful not to tip or lose balance.

If the animal is bleeding, has open wounds, apply continuous pressure to the area using a clean cloth or a bandage if possible. Substitute for an item of clothing or a towel if that is what you have to hand. Don't disturb the barrier to check bleeding as you may break any clotting that has taken place and restart the bleeding.

Try and take the animal to a local vet. If it is out–of–hours, your local vet will be able to direct you to the nearest 24 hour emergency practice.

Find a vet here:

Stray Dogs

If you find a healthy stray dog you should contact your local council dog warden by looking on the Government website and typing in “check if the council has your missing dog” or call the police on 101

Check if the council has your missing dog - GOV.UK (

It may also be useful to post details of the dog on social media. For example, search Facebook for ‘Lost Dog Posts In My Area’ to find local groups that may be able to help.

If the dog you have found appears unwell or injured, call the SSPCA/RSPCA for assistance.

SSPCA (Scotland): 03000 999 999

RSPCA (England & Wales): 0300 1234 999

Dogs in Hot Cars

Hot, sunny and even just warm summer days can see temperatures inside vehicles rise rapidly to dangerous levels within an hour, with the most rapid increases within the first 15 - 30 minutes. Leaving windows open slightly makes negligible difference to the dangerous nature of the environment within.

Dogs should not be left in cars as they could quickly become ill from the heat and dehydration. It is more than likely that you will find dogs becoming sick from heatstroke.
Dogs in this situation will show signs such as:

  • Constant panting
  • Weiriness
  • Foaming and drooling
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting

PDSA advice on heatstroke

If you see a dog left unattended in a hot vehicle then call 999 and ask to speak to police from the area's local force. There is provision in the law where someone has a lawful excuse to commit damage if they believe the owner of the property would have consented to the damage had they known the circumstances, which is relevant in the situation of breaking a window of a vehicle where an animal is in immediate danger. However it would be prudent to call 999 and inform Police of your intent, ask for witnesses (name and address or to remain until police arrive) and photograph/take video of the situation and the animal in distress before committing to this course of action.

Aggressive Dogs

If you see an aggressive dog, or you are a victim of (or witness to) a dog attack, you should call Scottish Police (or Police, if in England/Wales) on 999.

Barking Dogs

There are two main reasons that you might want to report a barking dog. If it is a noise nuisance, contact your local council. However, if you believe the dog has been abandoned, or is sick or injured, call:

SSPCA (Scotland): 03000 999 999

RSPCA (England & Wales): 0300 1234 999

Other Welfare Concerns

Legally, dogs are allowed to be left at home alone for long periods of time, as long as they have access to adequate food, water and shelter. However, if you are concerned that a dog's welfare is at risk, or that its basic needs aren't being met, phone the SSPCA/RSPCA with your concerns.

SSPCA (Scotland): 03000 999 999

RSPCA (England & Wales): 0300 1234 999