The warmer months are here and traveling with our pets can be dangerous when we leave them in the car to run a quick errand. During these hot temperatures, the temperature in a car can rise almost 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes. This includes even having the windows open.
Heat exhaustion can occur within a car as soon as outside temperatures rise to 83 degrees causing heat stroke or brain damage which can be fatal. Signs include panting, drooling, vomiting, weakness and seizures.
When deciding to take your dog on an errand, opt not to if they must stay in the car while you do so. Leave them at home. Keep them safe from excessive heat. Also consider the temperature when exercising your dogs. If you choose to take them outside for a walk or run, this should be done in the early mornings or in the evenings if it has cooled off enough. Pavement can reach scolding temperatures for their paw pads and cause damage and open sores that are painful within minutes. If the pavement is too hot for your palm or bare foot, it is too hot for your pet!
If your pet experiences heat stroke you will need to get them to the veterinarian immediately. Brachiocephalic breeds (dogs with short muzzles such as bulldogs, boxers, pugs, etc.) are most at risk. Shade rarely gives any more relief than if they are parked in the sun. Temperatures still rise quickly.
If you witness a dog in a hot car there are steps you can take to help the pet. Write down the car’s information, alert the management of the store so they can make an announcement, call the police or animal control, stay and monitor the pet until help arrives. Although Idaho law does not make it illegal to leave your dog in a hot car, there are laws against animal abuse, neglect and cruelty.