Too many times during the summer months, dogs get left in vehicles, their humans thinking if the windows are rolled down a bit and/or they park in the shade, the dog will be all right. Afterall, most dogs love car rides and spending time with their humans during travel; and, notably, we people enjoy having our furry friends for a ride-along. Yet, summer is a bad time to take your dog for a drive and then leave it in the vehicle while you run errands or have a doctor or hair appointment.
Studies show the temperature inside a vehicle can rise 20 degrees in 10 minutes and nearly 30 degrees in 20 minutes. The inside of a vehicle, even with the windows cracked, can climb to nearly 150 degrees. Children and pets left inside vehicles, even with windows opened a crack, can suffer heat stroke and die, and unfortunately, that happens all too often.
Each year, an average of 38 children and numerous dogs die because of being left in cars during summer. As of the end of June this year, 15 children had died from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle, and many dogs have already succumbed to death in a hot car, including a Georgia K-9 dog left in the cruiser by his police handler last month.
A veterinarian, Dr. Ernie Ward, created a video in which he showcases the rising temperature and describes the ramifications of leaving a dog inside a vehicle, even with all four windows cracked about an inch. See the YouTube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tJJ79YoFvM. Dogs and children do not tolerate heat as well as adults; in fact, dogs don't sweat in the same way as humans, so their ability to cool down from hot temperatures isn't as effective as ours.
So, keep your dog cool the remainder of this hot season and don't leave your beloved friend (or your children) in the car!
Other ways to help keep your dog cool include:
Red Rover, an animal welfare nonprofit, offers tips and other information about keeping pets cool in summer. Visit their website for more information: http://www.redrover.org/mydogiscool.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.