It has been a growing concern this summer that pet owners are leaving their pets inside hot cars and are heavily exercising their pets during hot weather. We want to keep pets safe this summer, especially on humid days.
Leaving Pets in Cars
You wouldn’t leave a baby in a hot car while you run into the store. Don’t do it to your dog. We’ve heard the following excuses:
“There was water in the backseat.”
When you’re overheating and thirsty, do you enjoy drinking hot water? A bowl of water sitting in your car is going to get just as warm as your dog is. Hot water is not refreshing. It’s rather useless.
“I was parked in the shade and cracked open the windows.”
Neither of these make a difference. The temperature inside the car is hotter than the outside temperature-no matter where you park. Cracked windows do nothing on a hot, humid day. There’s no cool air coming in.
“I was only gone ten minutes!”
In 5-10 minutes, the temperature inside the car increases from the outside temperature. It might be 78 degrees outside, but after 30 minutes, the inside of that car is at 120 degrees. Dogs don’t sweat like humans do. They can only sweat through the pads on their feet. This means dogs can overheat quickly.
Keep your pet safe and NEVER leave him/her in a car. If you went to the veterinarian and then have to go to the grocery store that’s right next to the vet clinic, then drive home and drop off your pet first. Is this inconvenient? Sure. Is this taking up more gas? Yes. Is this worth your pet’s health and safety? Absolutely. Leaving your dog in a hot car can kill your dog. If a pet owner is willing to take that risk than he/she does not deserve a pet.
If you see a dog alone in a parked car, call the police. Write down the car’s information (color, model, license plate number). If the dog seems okay, run into the store and alert the business. Ask them to page the owner of the car. However, if the dog is already overheating (panting, barking, acting frantic), take a quick photo with your cell phone and then break open the window. The photo is to prove to police that the dog was endangered so then you won’t get charged with breaking into a car. Wait with the dog until the police arrive. If you have cool water, give the dog some.
Still not convinced that you shouldn’t leave your dog in a hot car? Then go sit in your parked car on a hot day. Park in the shade, crack the windows, and wait ten minutes. Watch Dr. Ernie Ward sit in a hot car for thirty minutes:
Exercising On a Humid Day
If it is higher than 80 degrees outside, do not exercise your pet heavily. This means no running, jogging, tennis ball fetch, etc… A walk in the cooler hours of the day is fine, or a slow meander when it’s hot. Pay attention to your dog though, and know when your dog is ready to go home.
If your dog fits any of the following descriptions, you need to take extra precautions in the heat. Dogs with squished faces (Pugs, Bulldogs, and Boxers), cannot breathe very well in heat and humidity. They are at higher risk of heat exhaustion. Pets that have black fur or hair attract more heat than pets with light-colored coats. Northern breeds with thicker fur are also more likely to overheat.
Sometimes, the pavement might be too hot even for a walk. To test the pavement’s heat, place your hand or bare foot on the pavement. If it is too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog’s feet.
Click here to read more about the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion.
Click here for tips on how to keep your pet cool on a hot day.
Help us spread the word and raise awareness about this issue. We want to keep pets safe this summer by making sure all pet owners know how dangerous the heat can be! Please share this blog or our social media posts to alert pet owners!