Animal welfare organizations are raising public awareness of the risk of leaving your dog in a hot car. UK charities including RSPCA are alarming that dogs die in a hot car and they have launched the campaign “Dogs Die in Hot Cars.” They are warning that it takes only 6 minutes for a dog to die in a hot car and therefore, people shouldn’t leave their pets in the car.
However, people don’t stop leaving their dogs in cars. “Between 2009 and 2018, the RSPCA had 64,443 reported incidents of animal and heat exposure in England and Wales. Around 90% of calls related to dogs in vehicles. This year the RSPCA emergency hotline received 1,123 reports of animals suffering heat exposure in just one week (June 25 to July 1, 2018). That’s seven calls an hour,” reports The Conversation.
“If a dog’s internal temperature goes above 41°C (105.8°F) it is at risk of heatstroke, which only 50% of dogs survive. Some breeds are more susceptible than others – large dogs, dogs with short faces such as bulldogs and boxers, and overweight or long-coated dogs are most at risk – but every dog has the potential to suffer from heatstroke. It doesn’t have to be boiling hot for this to happen either – when it’s 22°C, (71.6°F) outside, the inside of a car can easily reach 47°C within an hour(116.6°F).”
Dogs don’t sweat. Therefore, when a dog gets hot, it loses the excessive heat through opening up the capillaries in the skin and increasing its heart rate. The dog will also begin to pant to lose heat through the mucous membranes located in their nose and mouth and also it will lick its body to cool it down.
As the heat is increasing, their bodily functions break down and the dog enters into a vicious spiral where their body starts pushing out less blood and so the heat cannot be carried away. Not long after, their body goes into complete shock and will cause kidney failure, circulation will stop, their brain will lack oxygen, and internal bleeding will happen. Moreover, the dog may experience brain damage.
So, make sure to make your dog cool on hot days by keeping them in a secure, shady, and ventilated places with water around them. Only walk your dog early in the morning or late at night to avoid exposing them to hot temperatures. And remember, if your hand feels hot when you touch the ground, it is too hot for your dog to walk on it.
If, however, you notice your dog is breathing loudly and panting or collapsing, place a wet towel on your dog’s back. If your dog experiences a heatstroke, immediately take them to the veterinarian. And please, never ever leave your dog in a car on a hot day.