Dogs are the best. They’re the best friends, the best listeners, and definitely the best driving buddies an adventurer could ask for. However, as the weather heats up, it is important to know just how quickly a fun excursion could turn to tragedy if your fuzzy friend is left in the car too long.
So, how hot is too hot?
Even on a relatively cool day, you have probably noticed that your car is noticeably warmer inside compared to the outside temperature when it has been sitting in the sun (or even in the shade). The fact is, the interior of a car can heat up alarmingly fast.
This chart from VeterinaryClinic.com shows just how hot your car can get during your “quick” errand. Even with an outside temperature of 70 degrees, 10 minutes inside the car can cause the interior temperature to rise to 89 degrees! Many of us have trouble being outside when it is circling 90 degrees, let alone being trapped in a car with very little moving air!
On the other end of the spectrum, and according to a blog on canidae.com, “hypothermia can become a risk at 50 degrees.” That means that there is only a 20 degree difference between too hot and too cold for your dog. That leaves you a pretty small window for what is actually safe for your beloved pet. Why risk it?
Something else that is important to note here is that dogs don’t sweat like humans. While a small amount of sweating can occur through their paw pads and noses, most of their heat is released by panting. This method of cooling relies on hot air moving out of the body while cycling cooler air in. However, if there isn’t any cool air, it will be all to easy for your dog to quickly overheat.
“But I crack the window!”
Unfortunately, that’s just not enough. Research has shown that leaving a small amount of air coming in through the windows doesn’t actually do much to slow rising temperatures. The following graph from pediatrics.aapublications.org illustrates that fact.
Even running the air conditioning, which some pet owners do, can be dangerous in a parked car. While you’re driving, car exhaust can be filtered as air rushes past your car and through the vents. However, if your car is idling and also running the air conditioning, there really isn’t anywhere for the car exhaust to go except back into your car through the vents. Think about it: what are you supposed to do when stopped by a train while driving? Turn off your engine. In fact, there are signs warning of the dangers of exhaust inhalation.
Here’s the thing: no errand should be worth the cost of your pet’s life, your child’s life, or anyone else who would be unable to free themselves from the confines of a car that turned into an oven. If you must run errands, take someone with you who can wait with the dog or kid and move them outside and into the shade if the temperature rises. Otherwise, make a separate trip!
We want all of our driving buddies to live long, healthy and happy lives!
From all of us at Quick-Set, drive safely out there!