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Posted on 06-29-2016
It's summer time, and you've probably already seen news reports of pets becoming seriously ill or dying because of being left in hot cars. You love your pet and would never do anything to hurt it, but summer sun and heat pose an extra danger that all pet owners have to take into account before allowing their pets to ride with them in the car.
The reason growers use greenhouses in northern climates is that the combination of sunlight and large windows heats up the space inside a surprising amount. The same effect that allows growers to pick tomatoes in Ohio in March causes the interior of your car to go from warm to blindingly hot in a just a few short minutes. Cracking the windows or putting up sunscreens don't do enough to keep the interior temperature safe for your pet to stay inside for even a short time. Independents studies have been done on the rising inside temperatures in cars. On a relatively cool spring day of 70 degrees, a car will heat to:
How long does your average trip to the grocery store last? In most areas of the country, summer days register much higher than 70 degrees in the afternoon, and the interior of a car can reach 140 degrees or higher in under an hour on some hot sunny days. This is enough to cause heatstroke, internal damage, or even death for all but the luckiest animals.
Heatstroke is a heat-related sickness that affects your pet's entire body and nervous system. Dogs can't sweat, so the only way they have of cooling their bodies is by panting. Combine hyperventilation because of too much panting with the stress from the heat, and it can spell brain damage or even death for your pet in less than 20 minutes. You can't see red, flushed skin or sweating on a dog, but there are other signs of heatstroke you should look out for:
If your pet is showing any of these symptoms, take it to a veterinary clinic or animal hospital right away. Transport it in a cool vehicle if possible, but speed is the most important element when your pet gets this far gone.
On a hot summer day, the best way you can show love to your pet is to leave it at home. If you have any more questions, call or visit Como Park Animal Hospital in St Paul at (651) 487-3255. We're available for questions or consultations 24 hours a day.
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