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Dangers of leaving Fido in a hot car
If we find the scorching summer temperatures unbearable outside of our cars, imagine how our furry friends feel when trapped inside. Dog fatalities from extreme heat in cars are avoidable and all-too common.
“One study in the Journal of Pediatrics showed that cars parked in the sun showed an average of 40 degrees increase in internal temperature,” said Dr. James Barr, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “This means, in 100-degree temperature, the car could reach 140 degrees.”
“That same study in the Journal of Pediatrics showed that the rate of temperature rise was slower if the car window was rolled down, but still remarkably dangerous and reached the same levels after 60 minutes,” said Barr. “So just rolling the window down is not sufficient.”
When humans overheat we sweat, and as the sweat dries it takes excess heat with it. Our four-legged friends only perspire around their paws, which is not enough to cool the body, and pant to rid themselves of excess heat. While this is efficient in controlling their body heat, it is of extremely limited effectiveness in high humidity or when in close quarters, such as a car.
“Also be especially cautious if your pet has a medical condition,” said Barr. “Respiratory, cardiac, and neurologic conditions may all impair the pet’s ability to dissipate heat, so it is especially important to take precautions.”
If you must travel somewhere with your pet during the summer, make sure they have access to plenty of water and proper ventilation and that the temperature they are kept in is reasonably low. Fatalities from heat stroke occur far too often, and our furry friends are relying on us to keep them out of harm’s way.
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University.
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