Dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars


As the weather heats up, the inside temperature of a car can reach dangerous levels within minutes for not only your children, but also pets trapped inside. 

Many people assume just stepping inside the grocery store for a few minutes while their dog is still inside the car is okay, but in reality, in just 10 minutes a dog can experience irreversible brain damage and even death in a hot car.

Two excuses Dr. Gary Spence hears way too often is ‘but I cracked the windows,’ and ‘I parked in the shade.’

“The only way a dog cools itself is with its tongue,” said Dr. Spence. “They don’t have sweat glands like we have.”

KETK decided to put to the test just how hot a car can get for humans who can sweat. Nicholas’ Pet Haven’s ‘Scruffy’ was already panting as we sat inside the car with the doors open. We passed ‘Scruffy’ off so he could stay in the cool breeze. We closed the door and felt the heat immediately. Within five minutes, KETK’s Cara Prichard felt like she was being suffocated, recycling hot air.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, outside temperatures in the sixties can still cause a car temperature to rise well about 110 degrees.

“It’s like putting something in a microwave, that’s exactly what happens. They just can not get rid of the heat on the inside because they can’t pant enough,” said Dr. Spence.

In a hot, closed car, a dog’s blood can thicken to the point that his heart will be in severe stress, trying to pump the abnormally thick blood through the blood vessels.

Dr. Spence said if a younger or older dog is comprised, they can succumb to heat stroke. Last year, KETK reported on three dogs which died due to heat stroke in East Texas and we don’t want to report on that again.

There are currently 16 states with laws to protect dogs in hot cars, however, Texas is not one of them. If you see a dog in a parked vehicle, it’s encouraged to take note of the car’s color, make and model as well as jotting down the license plate number. 

To learn more ways to help save a dog in our community, visit here.

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