My dog Ginger loves car rides. Everything outside of our little neighborhood is something new, and she has a thirst to see it all. The second she senses someone in the family is about to leave the house, she continually runs in circles around that person’s feet, so it is impossible to forget her. When she hears, “car ride,” Ginger is the first one out the front door. She’ll hoist all 13 pounds of herself into the car and leap into the backseat, ready to go on an adventure. Some days, however, we have to leave Ginger at home where it is cool, because it is just too hot for her to come along. Her tiny face watches disappointedly from the window as the car drives away. But in the summer heat, even a quick ten minute errand isn’t the right time to bring Ginger along, because we most likely would have to leave her in the car. This is never a good idea because of the fatal consequences that could happen, such as heatstroke and overheating.
The Dangers of Warm Days
Dogs are extremely susceptible to heatstroke and overheating. The average dog’s body temperature is 103-105°F. Their thick fur coats trap heat which can be great on cold winter nights, but on hot summer days are not ideal to our furry friends, especially when left in a car. Veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward wanted to experience firsthand just how hot a parked car could become in 30 minutes, and what it felt like to be trapped inside. The inside temperature started at 94°F and just after 5 minutes, with all four windows cracked, the temperature rapidly reached 100°F. Another 5 minutes later, the temperature inside the car was already a staggering 106°F and Dr. Ward was drenched in sweat. At the end of the 30 minute trial, the car’s temperature reached 117°F, a harmful temperature for dogs. Watch this informative video:
Tips to Keeping Your Dog Cool
Cars are not the only place dogs experience harmful hot weather. From hot pavement to lack of air conditioning indoors, here are 5 keys to beat the heat and to keep your dog cool:
1. Keep your dog in the shade when outdoors, and have a fan or air conditioning available indoors.
2. Have plenty of water accessible to your dog at all times.
3. Place a damp towel on your dog to help keep them cool or let your dog run through a sprinkler.
4. Walk your dog in the cooler mornings and evenings.
5. Avoid hot pavement.
While it would be great to have Ginger’s company on every car ride, we would not want to jeopardize her safety by leaving her in a hot vehicle. She’s a member of our family, so her safety is of utmost importance to us. As the temperature creep upwards, it is important to be conscious and take full precautions to help your dog stay cool.
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