Dogs and Hot Cars Don't Mix!

When I left AnimalSave several nights ago, the temperature in my car (that had been parked under the carport with all four windows lowered) was 103 degrees. I swung by the grocery store for cat food and saw a dog leaning out of the open window of a parked car, anxiously panting awaiting the return of its person. Even with the window down, I knew it was extremely hot inside the car parked in the hot sun. (I alerted the front desk of the grocery store and the owner of the parked car with dog was quickly located, thanks to an announcement over the public address system.)

Continuing on my way home, I saw a dog in the back of an open pickup truck—the bed of which had to be extremely hot on the dog’s feet. Dogs tied outside in the sun, even with water, can suffer heatstroke which can be fatal.

Here are some facts you might find interesting:

  • On a 78-degree day, a car parked in the sun, even with the windows partly opened, can reach 160 degrees in minutes.
  • The metal of a truck bed can heat up quickly and burn a dog’s feet.
  • With only hot air to breathe, a dog’s normal process of cooling through panting fails.
  • A body temperature of just 107 degrees may cause brain damage or death from heatstroke.

Please don’t take a chance.  Leave your dog home on warm days.

Signs of heat stress include heavy panting, excessive thirst, glazed eyes, vomiting, dizziness, dark tongue. If a dog is exhibiting any signs of heat stress, do the following:

  • Get the dog to shade or air-conditioning immediately.
  • Apply or immerse in cool (not cold) water.
  • Give the dog water to drink.
  • Call your veterinarian immediately.

If you see an animal locked in a car on a hot day, act immediately and call Nevada County Animal Control at 273-2179 or Grass Valley Animal Control at 477-4630.

My dogs all love to go for a car ride, but in this hot weather they’re far better off staying home in the air-conditioning.

If you would like copies of AnimalSave’s “Dogs and Hot Cars Don’t Mix” brochure to carry with you to remind others not to take a chance with their pet’s life, you can get them from Pet Adoption Services at the AnimalSave Center, 520 East Main Street, Grass Valley.