With summer in full swing, the SPCA is appealing to dog parents to be cautious when travelling with their pets. They urge people to never leave their dogs unattended in a car, as it can be incredibly dangerous and even lethal.
Sometimes people leave dogs in the car as they quickly dash into a store. While understandable, this can be detrimental to your dog’s health as even if the weather is cool outside, the temperature within a closed car increases rapidly.
“Dogs die in hot cars, don’t leave your dog alone in a car. When it’s as cool as 22°C outside, the temperature inside a car can reach 47°C within 60 minutes,” explained Amanzintoti SPCA PRO, Michelle Hannan. “Dogs pant to keep cool. In hot, stuffy cars dogs can’t cool down – leaving a window open or a sunshield on windscreens won’t keep your car cool enough.”
If a dog cannot reduce its body temperature, it can develop heatstroke which can be fatal. Symptoms of heatstroke include:
– Panting, which increases as heatstroke progresses
– Drooling, salivating
– Agitation, restlessness
– Very red or pale gums
– Bright red tongue
– Increased heart rate
– Breathing distress
– Vomiting or diarrhea
– Dizziness, staggering
– Lethargy, weakness
– Muscle tremors
– Collapsing and lying down
Dogs that are more prone to heatstroke include those with short snouts, fat or big-muscled dogs, long-haired breeds, old and young dogs, as well as dogs with certain diseases or on certain medication, the SPCA told South Coast Sun.
If you come across a dog with heatstroke, it is advised to act quickly and move them into a shaded, cool area. Try to gradually lower their body temperature by dousing them with cool, not cold, water to avoid shocking their system. Also give them some cool water to drink. Once they are cool enough and their breathing has settled, take them to the nearest vet to be professionally checked on.
If you find a dog alone in a car on a warm day, please call the SPCA in your city. Make sure to note the car and its licence plate, as well as where you found it and what type of dog is trapped inside. If possible, take pictures as evidence to show the SPCA.
The SPCA advises to never leave dogs alone in cars, regardless of the weather. If you leave your dog outside, make sure to provide them with a cool, shaded area to avoid the sun and supply them with enough drinking water.