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Leaving Dogs in Hot Cars: The Scary Facts

 by jaime on 05 Jul 2014 |
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Too many owners lose their best friend each year because they make the sad choice to leave a dog in the car during a shopping trip or road trip. There is never a truly safe time of year to leave a dog behind in the car, but summer is by far the most dangerous time of year. If you've developed this habit or done it once in the past, the following facts might change your mind forever about leaving your dog in the car.
 
Many dog owners will bring their best friend along as they run errands on a Saturday afternoon. In an attempt to keep their four-legged buddy comfortable at each stop, they roll down the windows and park in the shade. The sad truth is that neither step is effective in preventing health risks or death.
 
Even with the windows rolled down in your car, the air inside does not circulate well enough to remove the danger. Dogs cannot sweat like humans, and only cool down by panting and sweating from their paws. It can take as little as 15 minutes of breathing hot, stuffy air for your dog to collapse and suffer brain damage, heatstroke, or even death. Parking in the shade does little to alleviate the situation, as warm temperatures outside and a lack of air conditioning inside can create miserable conditions for your pet.
 
The scary facts

It doesn't take excessive heat outside for a car to become a deadly oven on the inside. On a day when the temperature hits 78 degrees, the temperature inside the car can exceed 90 degrees within a few minutes. If, on that same day, the car is left sitting in the sun the temperature inside can easily reach 160 degrees.
 
Even on a day when the temperature is a seemingly harmless 60 degrees, the temperature inside your car can reach into the danger zone if your car is left parked out in the sun for too long. All it takes is 15 minutes for your dog's internal temperature to climb from a healthy 102.5 degrees to a deadly level.
 
When your dog's body starts to heat up too much, it can suffer damage to its nervous system, cardiovascular system, become dehydrated, become comatose, and in the worst case scenario, die inside the vehicle.
 
Take precautions

During the summer months it is best to simply leave your dog at home. If you are heading out on a road trip, then it is important to take precautions to ensure that your pet remains comfortable and healthy along the way. Make sure to bring plenty of water and a travel dish for your dog to drink from at stops.
 
Make space inside the cab of your car or truck for the dog. If you own a truck and absolutely have to put your dog in the bed, do the right thing and secure its crate in the truck bed. Never let your dog ride loose in the bed of the truck. The metal bed can burn its paws and the exposure can result in sunburn or injury from debris. If your dog is riding in the bed, take extra breaks while driving to get them out and offer them some shade and cool water.
 
Remember, in as little as 15 minutes your dog can die from exposure inside a hot car. The intense heat and stale air make for terrible conditions for your dog, and in some states you can be charged with animal cruelty for leaving your dog in the car for any amount of time.


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