Responsible Dog Ownership Month: How it Feels for a Dog in a Hot Car
Summer might be drawing to a close, but the days can still get pretty warm in many parts of the country. Hotter temperatures mean your car can feel quite uncomfortable when you first get in, and you’re immediately cranking the A/C to full blast in the hopes it’ll stop you from sweating all over the seats. Since you’re aware of how it feels on a hot day when you get into your car, you can probably imagine how awful it is for your dog. Add into the equation the fact that dogs can’t sweat like we do, and you can probably start to get an idea of how it feels for a dog in a hot car. As part of Responsible Dog Ownership Month, here are some of the things that might go through your dog’s head in this situation:
“Phew, it’s getting pretty warm in here!”
Even when it feels pretty good outside, temperature-wise, the inside of your car can start to feel hot and stuffy quickly. On a 72 degree day, the inside of your car can rise more than 40 degrees, making it a stifling 116 degrees in just an hour. Even 10 minutes can increase your car’s interior temperature to dangerous levels. You wouldn’t like that, so why do that to your dog?
“It’s nice we’re parked under that tree with the windows cracked, but it’s not really helping.”
Even in the shade and with the windows cracked, your car can feel like an oven within minutes once the engine’s switched off. Opening the windows wider might allow your dog to get his head outside and breathe a little easier, but if a squirrel or bunny happens to saunter past, Fido’s natural prey drive could kick in and he’d be outta there.
“They’ve been gone a while… I’m starting to feel weird.”
Some of the symptoms your dog will experience while developing heat stroke include lethargy, heavy panting, extreme salivation, lack of coordination, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of consciousness. If it were you, you’d feel pretty crappy but at least you’d be able to go for help. A dog, on the other hand, is helpless until his owners return, which must feel very scary and lonely.
“Why would they leave me here?”
Your dog doesn’t understand that you just have to nip into CVS to grab some contact solution on the way home. All he knows is that you left him alone and he doesn’t feel good. Generally, dogs just want to please their owners, and it must be very confusing when they’re left alone and they’re feeling unwell or uncomfortable. If you know you need to stop somewhere while you’re out, leave your dog at home. Either that, or drop Fido off first and then do your errands. A ten-minute grocery trip isn’t worth your dog’s life.