Animals, just like babies and small children, are sensitive to the Summer heat. While it's certainly easier to leave our furry friends in the car while we run errands, the increased temperatures, lack of airflow, and hot materials can make this a dangerous option. And while it isn't always easy doing things with your dog in tow since not every place is pet-friendly, you should always put their safety first.
Why You Should Never Leave a Dog in the Car
Even though it might be a nice 75-degree day, pet owners should still avoid leaving their dogs unattended in a car for any amount of time. "It's not advised because you never know how hot it gets in the car," Regina Aiello, nurse manager at Premier Veterinary Group, tells POPSUGAR. "The temperatures in the car get even hotter than the outside temperatures, usually by at least 20 degrees." In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that 20 minutes in the car on a 75-degree day could result in internal temperatures of 104 degrees.
Cracking a Window Won't Help
Contrary to popular belief, leaving them in the car with the window rolled down doesn't help. "Even if you crack the window, the car acts like an oven, and there is nowhere for the air to circulate," Aiello explains. Leaving them with the air conditioning running can also be a bad idea. "If you leave the car, you don't know what's going to happen, and with the windows rolled down, it can be very dangerous."
Why the Heat Is So Dangerous
Just like with humans, heat stroke can be deadly to animals. "When their temperature becomes so high, you're essentially cooking their insides," Aiello says. "They'll come in with severe vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy, and they basically start bleeding out."
What to Do If They're Having a Heat Stroke
If a dog has been left in a car or the heat for too long, take them to an animal hospital right away. The most important thing to do is to try and bring their internal temperature down. "They should try to cool the dogs off slowly, since doing it too fast can result in other problems. Start by wetting them down on the way to the hospital with some cool water," Aiello explains.