You know that feeling when you get in a hot car after it’s been sitting, shaded or not, baking in the sweltering sun all day? That sweaty, sticky clothing, seats stuck-to-the-back-of-your-thighs, tight in the chest, oh-when-will-the-a/c-kick-in feeling? Heck, my son and I had that feeling just the other day after only 30 mins of the vehicle sitting in the sun, and the outdoor temperature was only 22C!
Now, add in a heavy fur coat and the inability to sweat and that’s your dog (or cat) in a hot car.
Hot cars kill dogs. And not just dogs, any pet can die in a hot car.
Hot cars are great for pouching an egg, keeping your coffee warm, or perhaps even baking a pizza. They are NOT great for your pets.
Although you may believe parking in the shade, leaving the windows rolled down some, or the sunroof open – are sufficient methods to keep your vehicle cool enough, they are not. The only way your dog has to cool off is to pant. Did you know panting creates more heat?
Cats are common travel companions but if you are thinking of bringing Fluffy for a car ride, perhaps think again. Cats don’t pant to cool off. A panting cat is actually a very bad thing! If your cat is panting you should seek out veterinary assistance immediately.
So, what is your best bet? Leave your pets at home while you run errands.
If you are travelling or have no option but to have Fido or Fluffy with you, consider these alternatives:
- If there is more than one person, have one stay in the car. This way that person can sense when the vehicle is getting too warm. This gives the option to get out with your pet, move to a shaded area where there is free flow of air and perhaps a cool spot to lay or they can safely crank the a/c.
- Consider day boarding. There are many doggie-day cares that can take your pet and keep him safe while you get any necessary stops dealt with. There are also some cat boarding facilities too.
Did you know leaving the vehicle running with the a/c going, unattended, is an option you really should reconsider? It is possible for your vehicle to overheat if left in this state. The hot air being removed from the car moves into the engine, your vehicle may not have the capability to deal with this for any length of time when sitting idle. If your vehicle overheats…well, you can imagine what that consequence could lead to – the opposite of what you were intending.
Ultimately the point is to be very aware that even at temperatures that feel cool when standing outside (like 21C) it can still get much too warm inside your vehicle. Whenever possible in warm weather, leave your pet home. If that isn’t an option, consider alternatives. We want everyone to be safe and healthy!
If you have questions or concerns contact your veterinarian.
*Temperatures in Celsius added to image by ANVC