Dogs can make wonderful travel companions. Many dogs are quick to jump in the car, eager to stick their head out the open window and enjoy the ride. However, there are times when taking your dog with you is not a good idea. The summer heat can quickly cause a carefree car ride to become a deadly outing.
On extremely hot summer days, most people realize leaving a dog in the car isn’t safe, but few realize that same risk applies on more mild days. Every year, dogs die when they are left in parked cars because outdoor temperatures can be deceiving.
When it is 85 degrees outside, the inside temperature in a parked car can reach 120 degrees within a half hour – even if the windows are slightly open and the car is parked in the shade! When a dog is left in a car under these conditions they can die or suffer permanent physical damage. A dog’s normal body temperature is 101 to 102.5 degrees. Because dogs do not sweat, they are at greater risk of hyperthermia if their body temperature goes above 105 degrees.
How to Protect Your Dog
If you must take your dog with you, never leave it alone in a parked car. Take a second person along who can sit outside with the dog in the shade if you have to leave your car and go where dogs are not allowed. Be sure to bring a bowl and drinking water to keep your pet hydrated while they await your return with the dog sitter. If you are going out to eat, find a restaurant with an outdoor patio that allows dogs. When traveling, check into pet friendly hotels. When you return to your car, get inside first, roll down all the windows and turn on the air conditioning to cool off the car before your dog jumps in. These extra precautions could save your dog’s life.
How to Save a Dog Locked in a Hot Car
If you encounter a dog that has been left in a car on a hot day, quickly assess his condition. If the dog is panting heavily, breathing deeply, has increased salvation, is vomiting and appears disoriented, immediately call 911. Explain to the operator that you have found a dog in a parked car that is in serious trouble. They will ask for your location and then dispatch either a law enforcement officer or an animal control officer. Stay at the car until the officials arrive.
This SPCA International article is intended to help further your understanding of your animal's needs. We understand yourunique bond with your pet and it is our pleasure to help you look after its welfare. Thanks to your continued support, SPCA International is able to provide you and countless others with important news regarding the safety of your pets. Thank you again for your donations – every little bit helps!