Spring is well underway, the weather’s warming up, and the Great British summer is fast approaching! The warm weather brings the opportunity for some magical adventures for you to share with your pets, from picturesque walks in the countryside to mouth-watering back garden barbecues. But the warm weather can bring with it some potentially life-threatening dangers for your furry friends. Overheating can be a particular problem in warmer weather, especially when dogs are left in parked cars. Even when the weather doesn’t feel too warm, leaving your car in direct sunlight leads to a greenhouse-like effect, and your car can quickly reach unbearable temperatures. The dangers of overheating are very real, and pets should not be left in parked cars under any circumstance.
Heatstroke – The Dangers
Dogs control their body temperature by panting. Normally, seeing a dog panting isn’t an issue, as it’s a very normal way for your dog to regulate its heat. But the heat inside cars can quickly rise to unbearable levels, where panting won’t be enough to cool them down. If left long enough, the dog could develop heatstroke, which can be fatal.
According to the RSPCA, symptoms of heatstroke can include heavy panting and excessive drooling, as well as your dog appearing lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated. Your dog may also collapse or suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea. If your canine friend is suffering from any combination of these symptoms, you should always contact your vet as soon as possible.
Which Dogs Are Susceptible?
In short, every dog is susceptible to heatstroke, especially when left in a parked car. However, certain types of dogs can be more prone to the condition. Very old or young dogs are generally more at risk, as well as dogs with thick, heavy coats. Certain breeds can be more affected too, including dogs with flat faces like pugs and types of bulldogs who are more prone to suffering from breathing difficulties.
When Is It Okay?
It’s never okay to leave a dog in a parked car, especially on a hot day. Cars can heat up much quicker than you think in the sun. And no matter how fast you think you’ll be, 5 minutes is never just 5 minutes! Even if you park in the shade or leave a window open, your vehicle can still reach unbearable, potentially lethal temperatures for your dog.
What Should I Do?
Heatstroke is a serious condition which can cause serious issues and potentially even kill your dog. If your dog is suffering from heatstroke, they need to have their body temperature lowered gradually. This can be done by moving the dog to a shaded area, dousing them with cool (not too cold!) water, and supplying water to drink. It’s important to act quickly, and always take your pet to a vet once you’ve managed to cool them down.
At The Insurance Emporium, we understand how many dog owners want to take their furry friend with them on all of life’s adventures. But you should always be careful when travelling with your dog in the car. Keep them hydrated, and make sure they won’t be left alone in your vehicle. If your dog does exhibit signs of heatstroke or any other illness, we always advise you to contact your vet immediately.
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