Summer’s on its way and the heat is on the rise!
Every summer we hear the horrifying news that someone’s pet died after being left alone inside a hot vehicle.
Have you heard “Oh, I will only be a few minutes”, “I’m just running into the store”, or “I left the windows cracked”. These reasons don’t add up too much if your pet turns out to be truly sick or dies from being left in a vehicle.
How Hot Can It Get
A vehicle can quickly reach a temperature that puts your pet as risk. In summer sun, it can rise almost 20 degrees in less than 10 minutes and even faster in warmer weather states. It can be even more difficult for a person to judge a safe inside vehicle temperature because our bodies perspire differently than our pets. Adding to the temperature, your pet has a fur coat making warmer temperatures even more difficult to tolerate.
Cracking the windows to allow the heat to escape or the breeze to get in doesn’t help. Studies done on the rising temperature inside vehicles show that this has little to no effect on cooling the interior cab.
From personal experience work at a police department, I have tracked vehicle temperatures in the Florida summer sun up to 138 degrees inside cars.
What Are the Dangers to My Pet
Unlike humans’ dogs don’t sweat from their skin, instead they pant or breath through their mouth. When a dogs panting can no longer keep up to cool them down their body temperature rises.
If dog can he will move to a cooler location such as a tile or hardwood floor, dig a hole to find cool dirt, or even stand in water. If your take your pet with you and leave him in the car he has no place to escape except the warm floor boards. Even providing your pet with a bowel of water is not enough to keep the heat from effecting your pet.
As heatstroke starts your pet will show signs of excessive panting and discomfort. He may fidget in the seat or change locations from the seat to the floor and back again as he looks for a cooler location. Some dogs start licking paws as a sign of stress and smaller dogs often try to hide under the seats.
Heatstroke is a serious condition that not only makes your pet ill but can kill your pet quickly if immediate care is not given.
How Can I Help a Dog With Heatstroke
If you find your dog showing signs of heatstroke you will need to cool his body down.
- DO NOT -Give your dog aspirin!!! This can lead to other serious problems.
- Put your dog in a tub of water – if you do not have a tub or cannot move your dog use a hose.
- Run COOL not cold water over your pet using a shower or shower hose setting is best. You want to soak your dog entirely but do not get water in his nose or mouth as you pet could drown.
- Allow your tub to fill with water keep your pets head elevated to keep water from entering its nose and mouth.
- To cool your pets head, place a cold item such a bag of frozen vegetables or a cold wrap on its head. Do not cover your pets nose or mouth.
- Rub your pet’s legs vigorously to encourage blood flow. This will help reduce shock and encourage circulation.
- If your pet is able, allow him to drink water on his own.
Even if your dog looks like they will be fine you will still need to act to ensure recovery.
- Check and monitor your dog for signs of shock
- Every 5 minutes take your dog’s temperature and continue to wet its body until his temperature drops below 103 degrees (39.4 C)
- Get your dog to a veterinarian immediately. Heatstroke can cause problems you cannot see such as kidney failure, neurological problems, brain swelling and blood clotting.
It’s Not Just Cars
Dogs can suffer from summer heatstroke in other locations than inside cars. Dogs inside low ventilated homes or trailers, outside in sizzling summer weather including parks, walking, and beach runs. So be aware of your dog in any hot environment and be sure you carry enough water for you and your pet.
Heatstroke can be prevented. Take care not to expose your dog to hot environments and provide cooling comfort for him to escape to. If your dog spends a great deal of time outside or seems to be hot inside your home try a dog cooling pad. These pads will give your dog the cool comfort he needs and they are great for traveling.
Take extra care with sort faced and stub nose dogs, such as pugs, bulldogs and Shi Tzu, as can quickly be overwhelmed by the heat.
Keep Cool This Summer!