You've heard of it, you knew it affected people, and you were even vaguely
aware that it could affect your pet. But how does it happen? And most important,
how can you help your pet avoid it? Heatstroke is a deadly disease that can kill
your beloved companion, even with emergency treatment. The best way to avoid
this terrible situation is prevention, and it's all up to you.
Sun + humidity = heatstroke
Just to place things into context; last year the ASPCA received over 3000
calls from the public reporting that over 4500 dogs had been locked in cars at
supermarkets, the streets and outdoor events. With one weekend in the last week
of May 2009 they received 175 calls relating to 237 dogs. Here are some facts:
The temperature in a car can soar to over 117f when the temperature outside
is just 72f, within an hour.
Don't forget, if the temp outside is only 70 with a hot sun, the heat in the
car is well over 100.
Your dog's normal body temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If
it rises to 105 or 106 degrees, the dog is at risk for developing heat
exhaustion. If the body temperature rises to 107 degrees, your dog has entered
the dangerous zone of heat stroke. With heat stroke, irreversible damage and
death can occur.
2. Temperatures in a car after the air-con has been turned off will match
outside temperatures within 5 minutes.
Humidity interferes with animals' ability to rid themselves of excess body
heat. When we overheat we sweat, and when the sweat dries it takes excess heat
with it. Our four-legged friends only perspire around their paws, which is not
enough to cool the body. To rid themselves of excess heat, animals pant.
3. Remember cloud cover can disappear rapidly.
4. Leaving the window open a crack or leaving some water will make little
difference and still leaves the dog susceptible to heat stroke which can be
fatal. Cracking the windows doesn't cut it!
5. Leaving a window slightly open will also allow strangers to slip your dog
something he should not have or something that could kill or harm him.
6. Your dog can injury himself while moving throughout the car. A simple slip
of the leg between your seat and consol can cause a break if your dog is
Under the Animal Welfare Act it is illegal to cause unnecessary suffering to
an animal with penalties of $20,000 fine to a custodial sentence of six months.
Of course its pretty much common sense but I find it amazing how every year
dogs die because of the thoughtless actions of their owners.
If Fido can't come with you when you get out of the car, leave him at home.