Every year dogs die because they are left in cars on hot summer days. Every year social media is filled with warnings about what can happen if you leave your dog in a hot car. Every year, people ignore the warnings and leave their dogs in their cars anyway. Many dogs die while others are just left to suffer in the suffocating heat while their owners go about their business.
PETA calls parked cars a 'death trap for dogs'. The temperature inside the car can be 20-40 degrees higher than the temperature outside the car. The hotter it is outside, the hotter it can get inside your car.
One man decided to demonstrate what it must be like for the dogs by leaving a frying pan with an egg in it in the front seat of his car. His hope was to raise awareness of the problem and convince more owners of dogs not to leave them in their cars.
Here's what he learned.
Death is not the only consequence of leaving a dog in a hot car. It may be the worst case scenario, but the other consequences are not any better. Dogs can suffer from heat stroke, or they may get brain damage or organ damage from being in a hot car, and it can happen in as little as 15 minutes.
The hotter it is outside, the faster the temperature inside the car rises. If you leave your car parked in direct sunlight, the temperature can rise even faster. It's like being in a natural oven. When dog owners go off to do even one errand, dogs can suffer a great deal.
Some people think that it is okay to leave a dog in a car if they crack the windows open. It doesn't. Leaving the windows open has been shown in studies to have a minimal difference, and your dog will still suffer from being left in a hot car. Temperatures rise almost as quickly, and your dog can be seriously affected.
Dogs cool themselves off in two ways. One way to cool themselves off is by panting. The other way to cool off for dogs is by sweating through their paw pads. If you see a dog in a car that is panting heavily it is already time for them to get out of the car!
Some might think that heat stroke is not a big deal, but for a dog, it can be terrible. Heat stroke can cause fluid to build up in your dog's lungs. It can kill liver cells. It can result in seizures and muscle tremors. It can even cause kidney failure. None of these things are easy on your dog.
If you see a dog in a car on a summer day, check for signs of heat stroke. The dog may seem restless and will likely be drooling with thick saliva. They will definitely be panting, and they may appear lethargic. Look at the color of the tongue – if the dog has heat stroke it will be a dark pink or even reddish. They may also appear to be uncoordinated.
Don't take your dog for a walk in the middle of the day when the pavement is hot. Imagine if you had to walk around in your bare feet. Touch the pavement with your hand before taking your dog out for a walk. If it burns your hand, it can burn the pads on their paws.
You might think that you're being nice by taking your dog out on a hot summer day, but it's not kind at all if they are going to be left in the car or forced to walk on burning hot pavement. It's much kinder to leave your dog at home where he can be on the grass and in the shade or inside an air conditioned house.