Now that summer is here, it may be safer to leave pets at home. Please remember never to leave your pets in the car unattended in warm weather!
Cars Become Ovens
The temperature in a vehicle, even in the shade with the windows partly open, can rapidly reach a level high enough to seriously harm or even kill your pet. A dog can be overwhelmed by heat in as little as 10 minutes.
How Pets Stay Cool
Dogs cool themselves by panting and by releasing heat through their paws. They do not perspire through their skin like people. On warm days the air and upholstery in your vehicle heats up to high temperatures making it impossible for pets to cool themselves. Your dog will be more comfortable if left at home.
The Risk Is Real
If it is 26°C outside, inside a car – even with the windows cracked – the temperature can reach 37°C in 10 minutes and 43°C in 20 minutes. A dog’s normal temperature is 38°C. If your dog’s temperature reaches 41°C cell and organ damage begins to occur.
- Exaggerated panting
- Bright red gums
- Rapid or erratic pulse
- Thick saliva
- Anxious or staring expression
- Weakness and muscle tremors
- Lack of coordination
- Convulsions or vomiting
- Seizures or coma
If your dog shows symptoms of heatstroke follow these instructions:
- Immediately move the animal to shade.
- Wet the dog with cool water including foot pads and around the head.
- Fan vigorously to promote evaporation. This process cools the blood reducing core temperature.
- Do not apply ice. This constricts blood flow which inhibits cooling.
- Allow the dog to drink some cool water.
- Take the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible for further treatment.
Veterinarians may apply supportive measures such as intravenous fluids to rehydrate the animal and oxygen to prevent brain damage.