It can be fatal to leave a dog or a child in a hot car in summer, but each year numerous cases still happen when people have to break windows or call the police to free a dog from a vehicle. Since summer is here, dog owners need to be extra careful!
Temperatures in a Car
The temperature inside a car can reach 47C within an hour if it is 22C outside. Dog owners should not judge the temperature inside a car by the reported outside temperature, even when leaving a window open. The best way to avoid extreme temperatures for your dog is to never leave them alone in the car, no matter the weather condition. Temperatures can increase by 10 degrees in just 10 minutes!
Dogs` Heat Exhaustion System
Different from human beings, dogs lack sweat glands that allow the skin and body to cool itself, instead, they pant to bring in small amounts of air into their lungs to aid in cooling and lose heat through the pads of their paws and nose. Dogs develop heatstroke more quickly than us and other species. The optimal body temperature for a dog is around 38.5C. The air becomes extremely hot in a car in the summer, and when your dog begins to pant it is just inhaling hot air into their lungs, which increases their body temperature.
What happens to a dog left in a hot car:
1. Within 5 minutes, panting and drooling starts.
2. Blood vessels dilate.
3. Heart rate goes up.
4. Blood starts to pool in organs.
5. Blood pressure starts to drop.
6. Kidneys and liver start to malfunction, causing vomiting and diarrhoea.
7. Brain swells.
8. Irreversible damage follows.
11. And then eventually death.
On hot days, this whole process can take place in only 5 to 10 minutes! Many people think they can just leave for a second and come back, but they are unaware of how quickly the process can occur. Signs that your dog may be experiencing heat stroke include your dog being lethargic and not as responsive as usual. If the dog begins to vomit or experience diarrhoea, it has reached a critical point.
What should you do?
If you find a dog trapped in a hot car and the dog does not appear to be suffering from heatstroke, you could either call the police or try to find the owner nearby. If the dog appears to be showing signs of heatstroke as they are panting heavily, dribbling excessively, having collapsed or vomited, call 999 immediately or ask for help nearby. Remember it is crucial to keep your dog cool in hot weather. To do this always keep a large bowl of water for them and provide them with shade. Make sure that the room they are in is well ventilated when you are away and walk your dog in the early morning or evening when it is less hot.
If you would like to manage how much activity your dog gets on a hot summer day check out our PoochPlay dog activity tracker below.