Imagine for a moment that you’re wearing a fur coat and you hop into the car when your pet parent calls you. You enjoy the air conditioning until the car stops. Your pet parent turns off the car, rolls down the window an inch or two, pats you on the head, and leaves.
It’s the middle of summer and, even though it may not be roasting hot outside, it is quickly getting warmer and warmer in the car until you begin to pant and to feel faint.
In fact, the thermometer on the car shows 22 degrees Celsius. Within only an hour, the temperature will quickly soar to 44 degrees Celsius, making the conditions ripe for heatstroke.
Maybe a crowd is gathering outside, contemplating whether or not to break the window to free you when, at the very moment, your pet parent has returned.
You were lucky. You survived being left in a hot car.
Every year, thousands of dogs worldwide die from being left in a hot car during the warmer months.
Heatstroke: The Signs
Dogs can suffer from heatstroke even if they are just sitting outside without shade. Know the signs of heatstroke so you can help your dog (or another dog) if necessary. Symptoms of heatstroke include:
How to Treat Heatstroke
Heatstroke kills. Get a dog exhibiting signs of heatstroke to a veterinarian immediately after stabilizing him. Your first step should be to get your dog cooled down by turning on the air conditioner in the vehicle or moving to a shady location. Put cool water over your dog. Make sure it isn’t cold or else he could go into shock.
Also provide your dog with cool water to drink to help bring his temperature down. Keep putting cool water on him until he begins to cool down. However, never allow him to get to the point where he begins shaking.
Once he is stabilized, take him to your veterinarian immediately.
Use Safeguards in the Summer
During warmer months, use safeguards when your dog is outside. If you leave him outside, make sure he has somewhere shady to go so his skin doesn’t become sunburned and he has grass to walk on so his feet do not become burned from the hot pavement. And, always ensure your dog has access to plenty of fresh, cool water.
Have you ever seen a dog left panting in a hot car? What did you do?