It can be tempting for all of us to leave our dog in the car from time to time. You’re simply trying to make a couple quick errands and need to run into the grocery store to grab a few things. Ten minutes tops. Or maybe trying to mail a package. Perhaps you just finished up an epic game of catch at the dog park, and now your pooch is riding shotgun. With just a couple small errands to do on the way home, you hate the thought of having to drop your dog off at home before making them. And although it can feel like a hassle to do just that, a beautiful, warm day could easily turn deadly for a dog locked in a car.
Hundreds of dogs die each year from being left in a hot car. Unfortunately, some owners with very good intentions simply do not understand how dangerous it can be to leave your dog in a car. Our hope is that if more people spread the word about the dangers of leaving dogs in cars, it will help educate owners and save a dog’s life. Here are some important things you need to know before leaving your dog in a hot car.
Did you know that cracking the windows does not help keep your dog cool? According to a study by San Francisco University, cracking windows had very little effect on the rising temperature inside the car. On a 70 degree day, the temperature inside the car can rise to 99 degrees within 20 minutes. On a 90 degree day, that temperature can reach almost 120 degrees in that same time. Scary, huh?
Although all dog breeds are susceptible to heat stroke, or hyperthermia, it’s important to note that some breeds are even more sensitive due to the shape of their skull. Breeds like Pugs, Boston Terriers, and Bulldogs could suffer from heat stroke even faster than other breeds. When dogs are hot, they pant to help regulate their body temperature. But once panting becomes ineffective against the heat and their body temperature rises too drastically, heat stroke will occur. Once heat stroke has begun to set in, the dog’s health will quickly deteriorate and it can happen extremely fast. Unfortunately, if a dog’s body heat rises too much, permanent organ damage and death can happen. According to an article by Earnest Ward, DVM with the VCA Animal Hospital, “The prognosis depends on how high the body temperature elevated, how long the hyperthermia persisted and what the physical condition of the pet was prior to the heat stroke.”
Some obvious signs of heat stroke include excessive drooling, feeling warm to the touch, and a dry nose. If your dog is showing signs of heat stroke, it’s important to get him moved to a cooler environment immediately. An air conditioned room is ideal. You can apply room temperature water to his body, but do not use ice as this will lower his body temperature too quickly. Finally, make sure to get him to a veterinarian as soon as possible. When it comes to hyperthermia, time is of the essence.
So, remember during these warm summer months, it may be convenient at times to let your pooch tag along on your errands, but don’t be tempted. It’s not worth risking your dog’s health to save a little time. Keep your dog happy and healthy by leaving him home when you have stops to make.