Hot Dogs and Hot Cars

June 29, 2018

‘On behalf of The Irish Kennel Club I wish to remind people that dogs must never be left in cars on warm or hot days. Below is our policy and advice and any of our members who allow this situation to develop will be dealt with severely. If you are a dog owner, you are responsible’.

Sean Delmar, President

The Facts!!!

Dogs die quickly in hot cars. Many studies have now concluded that even with the window partially opened, the internal temperature of a car will rise at the same rate as with the windows closed. In fact 80% of the final temperature rise occurs in the first 30mins and half opening the window is not effective in decreasing either the rate of the heat increase or the maximum temperature reached. A ‘Standford University study’ revealed that when it’s only 22 degrees outside, the temperature inside your car will rise to a staggering 47.2 degrees within 60 minutes.

A dog that is over-heating, can suffer irreversible organ damage and even death. Dogs are especially vulnerable as they cool off by panting and through the pads on their feet. At elevated temperatures body temperatures, the dog’s cells die and organs begin to shut down increasing the risk of an animal going into shock and dying, A dog’s normal body temperature is around 39°C. Although the upper lethal body temperature of dogs is approximately 42°C, brain damage may develop at temperatures of 41°C.

Special breed awareness: Brachycephalic breeds (short muzzled breeds), such as Pugs and Bulldogs, French Bulldogs etc are more susceptible to the heat as the conformation of their heads prevents adequate air flow and natural cooling of the body. An overweight dog or those dogs with breathing problems are also in the high risk category.

Prevention: Increase quiet time when it’s hot. Seek out cool locations especially in the midday heat. Always provide enough fresh water and a shady place to retreat. Alter your exercise regime to avoid the hottest parts of the day. If necessary leave your dog at home rather than bringing out in the car.

What to do if you see a dog struggling in a hot car?

Take down the cars registration and call local SPCA, Vets, dog warden, event organiser or the local police to log the incident.
Ask nearby businesses etc. if you can make an announcement just in case the owner is in a café or shopping centre.

*Wait by the car until help arrives and ask someone in authority to intervene.

Recognise symptoms of heatstroke quickly. Typical signs include vomiting, diarrhoea, apathy, hyperventilating (excessive panting) and even shock. When dogs are overheated, they usually pant and drool very heavily. When this happens, you must act quickly and properly:

1. Immediately remove your pet from the heat and bring him to a cool, shady area. Cool him off with moist, cool (never cold!) compresses on his head, throat and neck.

2. Gentle massages help to stimulate the circulation.

3. Go to the vet.

4. If he has overheated, your pet will need extra rest the following couple of days.

Use sunscreen to protect sensitive skin, as dogs can also get sunburned. Again certain breeds are more susceptible to sunburn especially around the ears and nose.

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