Veterinarian Ernie Ward wanted to find out what is was like to be a dog
trapped helplessly in a hot car on a summer's day. So he shut himself in
an SUV with the windows cracked. It was just him, a clock, a
thermometer and a video camera for thirty sweltering minutes that made
him rethink the wisdom of his plan just ten minutes in. He emerged
wiser, sweatier, and having more empathy than ever for dogs.Ernie Ward, DVM, demonstates what it is like to be shut up in a hot car. (You Tube Image)Ernie Ward, DVM, demonstates what it is like to be shut up in a hot car. (You Tube Image)

The day was 95° outside and a fairly good breeze was blowing. Even with the windows cracked there was no air circulating inside the vehicle. The temperature was steadily climbing and Ward found himself getting restless and desperately wanting to get out. He had the luxury of knowing that his ordeal would only been 30 minutes long. For your dog it is so much worse. The dog has no idea when or if you are coming back.

Ward's body started sweating in attempt to keep him cool. Dogs don't really sweat so they don't have that bodily function to help in the situation. The best a dog can do is pant and sweat a bit through his paws. For short-faced dogs the panting is not very efficient either. Ward could feel a rising sense of panic that the animal must feel at being trapped in a dire situation.

A dog in a car NOT on a hot day. (Photo by Almonroth/Creative Commons via Wikimedia)A dog in a car NOT on a hot day. (Photo by Almonroth/Creative Commons via Wikimedia)At the end of 30 minutes the temperature inside the car was hovering between 115 and 116 degrees. Ward could feel rivers of sweat. A dog can suffer brain damage or even die within 15 minutes.

Don't leave a pet of any kind in a car on a warm day. Even a cooler day can cause a car to heat up to excessive temperatures. Even if you think you will only be a minute time can get away from you and your pet will pay the real price.

If you see an animal left in a car call the authorities and stay on the scene until they arrive. If they are too slow to show up you may need to take appropriate steps to remove the animal from the vehicle. 

Heatstroke symptoms in pets can include restlessness, excessive thirst, thick saliva, rapid heartbeat, fever, heavy panting, lethargy, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and poor coordination. If you pet is showing any of these symptoms remove it from the heat and get it into shade or an air conditioned building. Wet the animal down and provide cool water to drink. Do not use ice or cold water.

Be kind to you pets and leave them home when the heat is on.

Sources: Doggington Post, PETA


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