Don't Leave Your Pet Unattended in a Parked Car 

If you are one of those pet owners who take their pet everywhere you go, you must ensure that your pet does go with you and is never left inside your parked car.  This is especially important in the summer time when temperatures can really soar to more than 100 degrees. If you have to take your pet out with you, you should plan your trips to make sure that you will be allowed to bring your pet with you anywhere you go.  The worst thing that can happen is you have to leave your pet behind inside your car when you have to enter a building where no pets are allowed.

Dogs in a car
Picture source: anti botox brigade by emdot, on Flickr

Leaving anyone inside a parked car, especially in the summer when it can be very hot even under the shade, can be disastrous for anyone. Thinking that you will “just be a few minutes” can prove fatal as it will take only a few minutes for the interior of a parked car to reach anywhere from 100 to 120 degrees. Partly rolling down the car windows will not help much in keeping down the temperature inside the car. Just like a baby, it will not take very long for a pet left inside the car to experience a heatstroke within only a few minutes. He may also suffer from severe brain damage or even die from the heat.  Your pet becomes highly susceptible if he or she is a young puppy or an elderly dog. The danger is made more acute if your pet is overweight or has dark or long fur as this is like compounding the already over heated surroundings by wearing a heavy coat. This condition is formally referred to as hyperthermia, when the body produces or absorbs more heat than it can dissipate. When this happens, your pet will require immediate attention to prevent any permanent disability or even death

While an adult dog whose normal temperature will be around 100 to 102.5 degrees may be able to withstand a body temperature of 107 to 108 degrees for short intervals, it will only take a few minutes before an organ dysfunction can begin and cause irreparable damage to your pet. Once the critical temperature of 109 degrees is reached, your pet will experience generalized cellular death and organ failure.  Some signs of a heat stroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, unsteady gait, vomiting or a deep red or purple tongue that is hanging out of the mouth. When this happens, you can help you dog cool down by taking him out of the car right away and moving him to the shade. Lower his body temperature immediately by applying cool – but not cold – water all over the body.  Should it be available, you can apply an ice pack or cold towels on the head, neck and chest areas only. You can also make your dog drink some cold water or allow him to lick some ice cubes.

The rule of thumb is to bring down the body temperature gradually. Do not dunk your dog into a pail of water as this may cause him to go into shock because of the abrupt change in body temperature.    

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