On a hot day, the temperature inside your car—even with the windows partly open—can reach 120 degrees or higher in a matter of minutes! With only hot air to breathe, your pet can quickly suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke. Open car windows or shaded parking areas will not save your pet. Some think that leaving the dog with the air conditioner on is ok, but experts caution against doing this because of the chance the car could turn off.
According to the AKC, every year hundreds of dogs die from car-related heat stroke. All dogs are susceptible to heat stroke, but did you know that brachycephalic breeds (dogs that have short, broad skulls), like Pugs and French Bulldogs, can become affected by the heat sooner than other breeds? Regardless of breed, it is important to be able to recognize the signs of heat stroke in dogs. Typical signs include; excessive panting and drooling, lethargy, staggering or collapsing, seizures, bright red tongue and pale gums, vomiting, and confusion. If your pet has been in the heat and you notice these signs, your quick response can save their life.
VCA Animal Hospitals recommend taking the following steps if your pet is overheated. First, get them to a cooler area. Second, gradually lower their body temperature by putting cool water on them. Do not soak them in cold water or ice because that can cause their body temperature to go too low. Third, place wet towels or cloths over the back of their neck, in their armpits and groin areas. You can wet behind the ears and paws. You can also offer your dog fresh cool water, but do not force them to drink. Lastly, take your pet to the veterinarian immediately!
As much as our furry friends love car rides, perhaps it is safer to just leave them at home when you are running errands.