Dogs love spending time with their owners in the summer, even when it’s just running errands. However, this is one time when it’s best to leave your dog at home. Whether you’re just dropping off paperwork or running into a store, you have no way of knowing if you will be delayed in getting back to your car. By the time you do get back, your dog could be in full heatstroke mode or even deceased. This is true even when you leave the windows partially rolled down.

On a typical 80-degree summer day, the temperature inside your car can reach as high as 120 degrees in 10 minutes. If it’s 90 degrees outside, the interior of your vehicle can get to 160 degrees in the same amount of time. Considering that your dog’s health and life are at stake, leaving her behind in the car while you run errands just isn’t a risk worth taking.

Why Summer’s Heat and Dogs Can Be a Deadly Combination

When you feel too warm, your body starts sweating to help keep you cool and prevent heat exhaustion. This is not true with dogs. Unlike people, they don’t possess the ability to sweat. Panting and releasing heat through the pads of their paws are the only ways dogs have to reduce their body temperature. This system is not nearly as efficient as our own, which explains why so many cases of canine heatstroke end up being fatal.

Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs

If you do make the mistake of leaving your dog in a hot car, it’s important to watch for possible signs of heatstroke. These include:

● Extremely heavy panting

● Thick saliva

● Vomiting

● Diarrhea

● Appearing uncoordinated

● Excessive thirst

● Refusing to eat

● Dark tongue

It’s important to get your dog in for emergency treatment at Buffalo Trace Veterinary Hospital right away if he has even one of these symptoms. If you’re already home and start noticing problems, cool your dog down with wet rags and offer him water on your way to see us. Should you notice another dog in a hot car while you’re out, don’t hesitate to call the police. They have the tools available to break the window and rescue the dog if necessary.


Image credit:  Iryna Kazlova | iStock