If You See a Dog Locked in a Hot Car This Summer, Say Something.

5 years ago

People who leave their dogs in hot cars is one of my biggest pet peeves.

Every year I go out of my mind when I see or hear of someone who left their dog in their car on a hot summer day to run into the store.

In the past I have been known to confront these complete strangers with a not so friendly greeting when they arrived back at their automobile that housed an overheated, panting dog, running around in their car.

Some of these conversations are more pleasant than others.

I have seen it in all different areas, Target being the biggest hot spot in my area.  It never fails that I go into Target with no cars parked next to me and I come out to a mini van parked right next to me with a dog locked inside.

Seriously, it happened more than 4 times times last summer.

I finally decided to go to Walmart instead, where, if I might add, no one parked next to me with a dog locked in a hot car.

I’ve been reading a lot of post this summer where bloggers are trying to spread the word that this kind of behavior is just not cool.  I love that we are spreading the word and trying to get the message across, but let’s face it, despite what I want to believe not everyone reads blogs.

However, almost everyone watches T.V. or listens to the radio, so I get excited when I see or hear about not leaving dogs in hot cars on one of those media outlets.

So why are people still doing it?

Based on the conversation that I had with a client at the vet the other day, I don’t think they understand what really happens to a dogs body when they are hot and locked in a car, and we need to paint them a picture.

My conversation went a little something like this:

Client: I left my dog in the car the other day when I ran into the mall. After all, the dog loves to lay in the sun, so he’s perfectly fine in the car for a few minutes, or twenty. Right?

Me:Um, no. Laying in the sun is totally different than being locked in a hot car.

Client:How so??

Me:Your dog can get up and move when he gets hot laying in the sun. He can’t get out of a hot car:

First,  your car is like an oven in the summer. Would you sit in an oven?

No, you would not.

Second, unlike you, your dog does not cool himself by sweating. They sweat yes, but through the pads on the bottom of their feet.  They pant to regulate body temperature. By panting, a dog can cool the mouth and tongue, along with blood which is circulating through the head, keeping the body temperature at a safe and normal level. The closer the temperature of a car is to the dog’s body temperature, the more likely the dog is to overheat and die.

Third, a dogs normal body temperature is higher than ours. A normal temp for a dog can range between 101-103 degrees Fahrenheit. At 105 degrees a dog can be at serious risk for heatstroke. Going from 103 to 105 degrees can happen in the matter of minutes for a dog locked in a hot car. 106 to 107 degrees your dog may be close to brain damage.

At 105 degrees your dog is beginning to panic and now his cells are in the process of breaking down which leads to dehydration and blood thickening which is putting strain on the heart which may cause blood clots and death to vital organs. The liver, brain and intestinal cells will probably be the first to go.

So while your inside the mall picking out an outfit for Friday night, your dogs insides are literally cooking in your car.

Is that outfit really worth it?

Client: (stunned) I had the windows cracked open.

Me: Doesn’t matter. Still HOT.

Client: I had no idea it worked that way.

Me: It does, and your lucky your dog is safe. 

I have no idea why people don't think their dog will get hot when locked in a car.

This summer if you see a dog locked in a car, please stand up and say something.

Education is key. Keep spreading the word and if your up for it-paint a picture.


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