Wednesday, July 8, 2015

It Only Takes Minutes For A Pet To Get Incapacitating Heatstroke

In just 15 Minutes, the Temperature Inside a Car Rises from 83 to 109 Degrees!

When the outside temperature is 83° F, even with the window rolled down 2 inches, the temperature inside the car can reach 109° F in only 15 minutes. “Within the first 10 minutes the temperature in an enclosed vehicle will rise an average of 19 degrees or 82 percent of its eventual one hour rise.”

It has been scientifically proven that cracking windows open does not decrease the rate of temperature rise in the vehicle!

Check out the data below in terms of how hot a car becomes in <30 minutes even on a relatively cool day.
Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University


Why do Hot Cars Affect Dogs so Quickly?


Dogs do not perspire the way humans do; the only sweat glands that they have are on the pads of their feet. Dogs pant to exchange cooler outside air with the warm humid air in their lungs.

If the outside air isn’t cooler than their body temperature, an animal can succumb to heatstroke which can cause brain damage, kidney failure, cardiac arrest and death.

Old and overweight pets as well as short-nosed breeds are at the greatest risk but any dog can succumb to heatstroke in less than 30 minutes.

According to PetMD here are symptoms of heatstroke:
  • Increased heart rate
  • Excessive panting
  • Increased salivation
  • Bright red tongue
  • Red or pale gums
  • Thick, sticky saliva
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting (sometimes with blood)
  • Diarrhea 


What Should I do if My Dog gets Heatstroke?


Remove your dog from the hot area immediately.

While transporting him immediately to your veterinarian, lower his temperature by placing cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, under the forelimbs, and in the groin area.

If possible, increase air movement around him with a fan. Be careful, however, as using very cold water can actually be counterproductive. CAUTION: Cooling too quickly and especially allowing his body temperature to become too low can cause other life-threatening medical conditions.

Mix a clean spray bottle with 50% water and 50% rubbing alcohol and spray on skin (pads of paws, inner flaps of ears -- but don't get inside ears, belly skin). Avoid eyes, nose and mouth. As alcohol evaporates, pet will cool.

The rectal temperature should be checked every 5 minutes. Once the body temperature is 103ºF, the cooling measures should be stopped and your dog should be dried thoroughly and covered so he does not continue to lose heat.

Allow free access to water if your dog can drink on his own. Do not try to force-feed cold water; as he may inhale it and could choke.

Even if your dog appears to be recovering, take him to your veterinarian as soon as possible, he should still be examined since he may be dehydrated or have other complications.


 photo credit: 0298 via photopin (license)

How can Heatstroke be Prevented?

  • Make sure outside dogs have access to shade and provide access to water at all times.
  • Do not leave your pet in a hot parked car even if you're in the shade or will only be gone a short time.
  • On a hot day, restrict exercise and don't take your dog jogging with you. Too much exercise when the weather is very hot can be dangerous.
  • Do not muzzle your dog. They must be able to pant.
  • Avoid places like the beach and especially concrete or asphalt areas where heat is reflected and there is no access to shade. Asphalt and hot beach sand will burn their pads.
  • Wetting down your dog with cool water or allowing him to swim can help maintain a normal body temperature.
  • Move your dog to a cool area of the house. Air conditioning is one of the best ways to keep a dog cool, but is not always dependable. To provide a cooler environment, freeze water in soda bottles, or place ice and a small amount of water in several resealable food storage bags, then wrap them in a towel or tube sock. Place them on the floor for your pet to lay on.