Ever so often I have seen pets being left alone in cars. I never thought much of it, until I heard recently of a dog being left in a car who actually died. So, I wanted to find out more. Why would a dog just die in a car? If we sat in a car with the windows down during the summer, we as humans are not going to just die...
So, I started doing some research on dogs, and how their bodies function. They are very similar to us in many ways. Because of their thick coats, they are able to withstand cooler temperatures than we are, however come the hot summer months, they are unable to "shed" their coats, like we do a winter jacket, and keep cool. And here is where the problem lies.
In a car, or vehicle the temperature can rise to over 40 degrees above the outside temperature fairly quickly. A dog is unable to cool off like we can. We can cool off through our skin by sweating. Dogs sweat through their paws and through panthing to dissipate heat. They are not able to cool off as quickly. Hyperthermia or heat stroke can be fatal and can happen rather quickly. The temperature a dog keeps is normally 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit. At 107 degrees Fahrenheit the vital organ will start to fail.
The key here is to NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG IN THE CAR ALONE, especially in the summer.
Some signs of overheating or Hyperthermia:
1. Vomiting, Diarrhea,
2. Unsteadiness, Staggering, Mild weakness, Loss of consciousness, Seizures, Glazed eyes, Seizures, Loss of Consciousness
3. Excessive panthing, Rapid breathing, drooling
4. Increase in body temperature
5. Deep Red/Purple Tongue
IF you dog is experiencing any or all of these symptoms, call your vet right away,and start to bathe the dog in cool water to decrease their temperature gradually. Give your pet small amounts of cool water to drink. REMEMBER: DO NOT GIVE YOUR PET ICE COLD WATER, only COOL WATER.
SOME OTHER TIPS FOR THE SUMMER
1. If you are going on a long trip, like a road trip with your dog, make sure that you carry plenty of water. The rule is to carry a Gallon of water for each pet.
Make sure that while on your trips or otherwise, when your pet is around your car make sure that the car or vehicle does not have any fluid leakage. Animals are attracted to the sweet taste of auto fluid and when ingested, it can be fatal. Call ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 or get in touch with your Vet right away.
2. Make sure that your pets are properly groomed in the summer. Shave long-haired coats to about 1" in length. Brush their coats often and don't over shave. The fur does help to regulate their body temperature.
Some of the breeds of dogs living in the Northern parts of the world have 2 coats. An undercoat and a Longer Guard Coat. The longer coat is used to protect the animal in extreme cold temperatures. The undercoat is often shed in the warmer months. Twice a year they "blow" their coats, or shed them. Make sure you frequently comb these Northern brees if you have one of them. These include: Huskies, Malamutes, and Chow Chows.
3. Be careful around pools. Every year, pets are known to drown in pools. Remember that not every dog knows how to swim so keep a close eye on your pet when they are around a pool or any body of water. Some people recommend that you apply a flotation device on your pets if they are going into the pool.
4. When you are taking your pet out for a walk, make sure that you take them out in the early morning or the evening. Never take them out after a meal, and never in humid weather. Make sure the areas you take them to have asphalt/concrete/sand etc that has cooled drown from the hot sun. Test an area with your palm to see if the area is cool enough for your pet. If it is not cool enough, the hot area cold burn their paws very quickly.
5. If you have an older, have heart or lung disease or are overweight animal, or if they are brachycephalic (meaning short-muzzled or snub nosed), they should be kept in an AC room at all times. Examples are: Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Lhasa apsos and Shih Tzus).
Have fun with your pets, but remember they are more fragile than we are...especially during the summer months!