Summertime Danger - Dogs in Parked Cars
Brenda pulled up to the grocery store. Her Pekinese, Trixie sat beside her. Outside temperature: 82į F. Brenda parked in the sun (there was no shade). She left the air conditioner on and Trixie inside the car. Thirty-minutes later, she returned to find Trixie dead. What happened?
Brendaís car is a computer-operated model. While the car baked in the sun, the engine overheated. The computer sensing the overheating, shut down the air conditioning and turned on the heater. Trixie never had a chance.
Even in an older car, Trixie would have been in grave danger. In ten minutes inside the car, the interior temperature would have rose to 109į F. In twenty minutes to 120į. Trixie died of hyperthermia (heat stroke). In other words, her brain fried. A larger dog might have only suffered brain damage.
ďBut I crack my windows!Ē
Even with windows cracked, cars become doggy-bake ovens in the hot sun. Parking in the shade wonít help because shade shifts.
Try this experiment on a hot summer day. Drive your car to the mall. Park in the sun. Roll up the windows, turn off the air conditioner and see if you can sit there for ten minutes without sweating, finding it difficult to breathe or panicking. Use an interior thermometer and watch the temperature climb steadily. Now, think of your dog:
Dogs sweat two ways, through open-mouth panting and through glands in their paws. They cool themselves by panting and sweating. Unlike cats (who are a bit smarter) they donít cool themselves by grooming.
Dogs canít roll down windows, open the door, or take a drink of the bottled water sitting tantalizingly close-by. They have to deal with the environment forced on them.
If she could talk, I rather think, that on that hot summer day when Brenda asked: ď Trixie, want to go for a ride?Ē Trixie would have looked outside, shook her head, and ambled back to her cool indoor spot, where she was safe.
Leave your dog home on hot or warm summer days, if the dog is going to be left in a parked car. If you are headed out to the lake for water games with your dog, more power to you. But otherwise, put her in a shaded kennel, or inside her crate inside the house with the air on.
What to do if you find a dog locked inside a car
If you find a dog unconscious in a car and the doors are unlocked, this is what you do.
If the car is locked- write down the license number, color, make of the car and run into the store to have them find the owner. If you are at a place where there is more than one store, then dial 911, they will patch you through to the proper authorities.
Symptoms of heat-stroke
Donít allow your dog to ride in the back of a pick-up truck. In the summer even though she will be getting warm wind on her, she still is in danger of the pads of her feet burning from contact with the hot metal. Not to mention, if you have to brake suddenly, she could be thrown out of the truck.
Although itís tempting to travel with your pet at all times, use common sense. Leave your pet at home in the summer.
Keeping your dog cool
Dogs ARE manís best friend. Be their caretakers not their undertakers.
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