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You're Hot? They're Even Hotter!!! Are you Cooking Your Dog?

Is your car an oven? When the temperatures goes up, leave your pet at home! Vehicle heat studies prove the danger of leaving pets in parked cars.

I am in utter amazement with all the media coverage about how hot cars get in this weather- that there are still some people that leave their pets and children in the car while they run into the store.  I was just at the Piggly Wiggly and there in a black SUV sits panting his head off was a smooth coat collie. 

So apparently everyone doesn't know that leaving your dog in the car, even for a short time and with the windows cracked can make your car an oven.  If the outside temperature is 98 degrees that means in a matter of minutes your car is 120 degrees.  Even on a 70 degree day the inside of a car can reach 120 degrees within 20 minutes.  Common sense and recent studies show that even cool days the temperature inside your car can race up to life-threatening levels.  It's the sun on cool days that turns a parked car into an oven.Dogs don't sweat the way we do; they cannot cool their bodies efficiently in hot temperatures.. 

When we overheat we sweat, and when the sweat dries it takes excess heat with it.  Our dogs only perspire around their pads which is not enough to cool the body;  to rid themselves of excess heat, animals pant, air moves through the nasal passages, which picks up excess heat from the body and then it is expelled from the mouth along with excess heat.  This is a good way of cooling themselves off but with excess heat, high humidity, or close quarters (a car) it is severely limited.

Next on the list is surface awareness-asphalt, decks, roads, cement or any surface that gets hot in the sun.  Walk your dogs in the early morning or evening; you both will be more comfortable. Be sensitive to the egg-frying temperatures of summertime pavement.  When the outside temperature is 95 degrees the asphalt temperature is 145 degrees - that will cook an egg in less than 5 minutes, can you imagine what that can do to skin considering that at 125 degrees skin destruction can occur in 60 seconds.  Here is a test press the back of your hand firmly against the asphalt for 7 seconds to verify it will be ok for your dog to walk on.While outside yesterday I didn't realize how hot my deck got, it got so hot that I had to wear my sandals on it so if it burned my feet I'm sure it burned Pearls. 

So where are the danger zones?  The most obvious is your car:  It can become a death trap even on a mild sunny day.  Leaving animals outdoors without shelter is just as dangerous as leaving them inside a hot car.  Be sure they are not left in a cage in the hot sun, on a chain in the backyard, or outdoors in a run without sufficient shade or air circulation.  Remember also the cement gets burning hot.   So please don't leave your dog in the car while you just run in, if you think you will need to leave your pet in a car, even for a few minutes, leave them safely at home instead.  They will be happy to see you when you return. 

Keep in mind that dogs overheat before people do, so even though you may be just a little warm, you dog can be lethally overheated.  Heatstroke is a medical emergency.   Signs of heatstroke are red gums, extra-thick slobbery saliva, panting, unsteady gate, staring, anxious expression, refusal to obey commands, warm dry skin, high fever, rapid heartbeat and breathing, vomiting, collapse.   

When overheated, pets can go into shock, leading to irreversible organ failure and death.  Remember heatstroke can be fatal - seek veterinarian care immediately.

Remember if YOUR HOT they are even HOTTER.

Another tip for this extreme heat make sure your pets have plenty of fresh clean water - add some ice - add alittle broth (makes them drink more), make sure they are getting plenty of water, especially older, sick dogs who can dehydrate faster.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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