Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | June 30, 2010

Keep Dogs Cool and out of Cars

Leroy Likes it Cool

Summer is here – and although we embrace the long sunny days – they can also be deadly for me and my canine friends.  As part of the Second Chance Humane Society Community Outreach & Education Program I have been selected as the spokesdog for highlighting the dangers of leaving a dog in a parked car in the summertime.  Here are the facts:

It takes only minutes for a pet left in a vehicle on a warm day to succumb to heatstroke and suffocation. Most people don’t realize how hot it can get in a parked car on a balmy day. However, on a 78 degree day, temperatures in a car parked in the shade can exceed 90 degrees — and hit a scorching 160 degrees if parked in the sun (in 30 minutes or less)!

Even when the outside air temperature is in the 60s, temperatures inside some vehicles can reach the danger zone on bright, sunny days. So Second Chance recommends not leaving pets (or children) in parked cars even for short periods if the temperature is in the 60s or higher.

Rolling down a window (increasing the chances of your dog escaping) or parking in the shade doesn’t guarantee protection either, since temperatures can still climb into the danger zone.

Remember that animals are not able to sweat like humans do. We dogs cool ourselves by panting and sweating through our paws. If we have only overheated air to breathe, we can collapse, suffer brain damage and possibly die of heatstroke. Just 15 minutes can be enough for an animal’s body temperature to climb from a normal 102.5 to deadly levels that will damage our nervous and cardiovascular systems, often leaving an animal comatose, dehydrated and at risk of permanent impairment or death.  

Second Chance also advises to immediately report an animal left in a hot car to law enforce­ment by dialing 911. Do not try to release the animal yourself as the animal or the owner may react negatively to such efforts. Write down a description of the dog, the car, the license plate and note the time you first noticed the animal in this dangerous situation. All this information will be helpful to law enforcement personnel when they arrive.

Heatstroke is one of the summer’s most frequent canine afflictions and one of the most lethal! Symptoms might include: elevated body temperature (body temps can soar as high as 110), vigorous panting, unsteady gait, physical depression or agitation, thick saliva or froth at the mouth, rigid posture, vom­iting, bloody diarrhea, collapsing and signs of shock. 

Animals that have ­been confined to hot vehicles should be imme­diately transferred to a veterinarian even if they are not showing any typical signs of heat stroke. Heat-related symptoms may show up days later and then treatment would be too late. If the ani­mal is overheated, immediately move him to a cool environment while you arrange for medical care. Wetting down the animal with room-temperature water is also a good step to cooling the animal down. Do not immerse the animal in water or use ice water as this may induce shock.

My name is Leroy.  I am a famously handsome Husky available for adoption at the Second Chance Shelter.  My parting spokesdog words of advice are: if you think you will need to leave your pet in a car, even for a few minutes, leave them safely at home instead. They will be happy to see you when you return!

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online:  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.


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