Friday, July 19, 2024
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First Heat Of Summer, Think About Your Dogs

With the first 90 degree days of summer expected this weekend, a good reminder time for the danger of leaving pets in your car.

Katy McNees is a veterinary assistant at Copeland Veterinary Hospital. She said a car left in direct sunlight can heat up to unsafe temperatures in as little as two minutes. McNees said that dogs left in the car for as little as an hour have little chance for survival as their organs are cooked by the sunlight. McNees said that certain breeds with shorter noses are more susceptible than others.

“For some dogs, especially our brachycephalic dogs such as bulldogs, pugs, anything with a smushed nose, they actually have less of their sensory, like their nasal canals,” McNees said. “They have a smaller space to move oxygen so they actually go into distress much faster than say a German Shepherd or anything with a long nose.”

McNees said that it’s better to leave your dogs at home. If a dog needs to be left in a car, it’s best to leave the car on and the air conditioning running. McNees said that simply leaving water for the dog or keeping the windows rolled down will not make the dog safer.

McNees said the threat does not stop at cars. She said doghouses and even patios can be dangerous.

“Lord, last summer there was a dog that our thermometers wouldn’t even read the temperature it was so high,” McNees said. “And it had only been in the car, or even, it was really out on the patio. It was a brachycephalic dog and it was outside on the patio for maybe 20 minutes.”

Signs of heat-related distress include fast panting, heavy drooling, lying down lethargically, and dark red or purple gums.

“If you can get a dog to a vet, depending on the body temperature and how quickly we can get them to cool down, they may make it,” McNees said. “Or it could be a day or two and we start to see organ failure.”

McNees said that, if you encounter a dog you believe is suffering from heat stroke, that dousing it with water will put it into shock. Instead, spraying alcohol to the dog’s feet and belly or cooling it with a damp towel and seeking veterinary help is the way to go.