The summer 0f 2017 is shaping up to be the second-hottest summer on record, according to Scientific American. Each of the last three years has broken global high-temperature records. This is pushing heat indexes well over 100 degrees in some states. States like Texas, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Illinois are experiencing scorching heat waves that are leaving many wondering how hot is too hot for a dog to be in a parked car?
You should never, under any circumstances leave a dog in a parked car—even with the windows open. Cars can become furnaces in the summer heat. At 78-degrees, the inside of a parked car can climb to 100 degrees in minutes. It only takes 10 minutes for the interior temperature of a car to reach a potentially fatal 109 degrees on 90-degree day. Since dogs can only regulate heat through panting and minor sweat glands on their footpads, temperatures above 104-degrees put them at high risk of overheating (hyperthermia).
It is simply way too hot for them.
Dogs with wrinkly faces (brachycephalic) are even more susceptible to overheating like Bulldogs and Pugs. Obese dogs, puppies, or senior dogs also have a higher chance of suffering from heatstroke. Medical conditions like respiratory disease, heart disease, lung disease, or central nervous system disease put dogs at higher risks too. Knowing how hot, is too hot, for a dog is important when the temperature swelters to dangerous notches in a mercury thermometer.
A responsible guardian should look for other ways around leaving a dog in a hot parked car!
How Hot is Too Hot for a Dog?
When the outside temperature reaches 90-degrees, heat must dissipate through evaporation. For humans, this means sweating, and of course, for dogs, this means panting. If a puppy or dog’s body temperature exceeds 103-degrees, veterinarians consider this abnormal or hyperthermic. At this point, dogs will begin exhibiting symptoms of hyperthermia. Symptoms include excessive drooling, bloodshot eyes, and muscle tremors.
A body temperature of 106-degrees—not caused by a previously diagnosed illness is most likely from external or environmental heat. At 107-degrees—the critical point—multiple organ failures, and even death can become imminent. For this reason, it’s important to know how to reverse internal body temperatures.
How to Reverse Overheating
An overheating dog is an immediate medical emergency. Dog owners need to take urgent steps to lower their dog’s body temperature or risk brain damage, organ failure, or death.
Your dog should always have access to water and shady areas. If a dog is showing signs of overheating make sure they still have something to drink. Add a pinch of salt to replace any minerals a dog has lost during panting.
Take cool (not cold) water and pour it over a dog’s head, stomach, armpits, and feet. If there is a bathtub nearby you can also submerge your dog in cool water—holding their head up to prevent aspiration pneumonia. You should also massage your dog’s limbs vigorously to restore blood circulation. Placing a cold packet on your dog’s head will also bring their body temperature down.
Always call emergency veterinary service so they can properly assess your dog’s condition.
What to do if You Come Across a Dog in a Hot Car?
Time is imperative when it comes to preventing a dog from getting brain damage. At a sustained 107-degree body temperature, it can take only 15 minutes for brain damage to occur.
If you see a dog in a parked car, take down the car’s color, model, make, and license plate number. Try and have the owner paged in the nearest building over an intercom system or through a businesses registry.
If needed, call the humane authorities or police.
Alternative to Leaving a dog in Parked Car
Even when the weather is fair it’s a good practice never to leave your dog in the car. There are plenty of alternatives that don’t put your dog in any danger and still allow you take a cruise with them.
Drive Through/Curbside Service
When you go out to eat, drive around a drive-through or order curbside service. Most restaurants have mobile apps that make this super convenient and easy. This way you get the food you want and your pup has companionship through the whole process.
The Buddy System
If you want to bring your dog for a ride, bring a friend or family member to watch over them while you run inside for errands. This way you can leave the car on with the air conditioning running, without worrying.
With over 68% of the U.S. population owning a pet, dog-friendly establishments are becoming more popular. Restaurants with outdoor dining are usually fine with you bringing your dog in. Some shopping malls have even opened their doors to our canine companions too!
Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique wishes the best for dogs of all sizes and shapes! We adore animals and hate to see when animals suffer from negligence. Please be responsible this summer and know when it is too hot your dog to be in a parked car.
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