BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The heat is not just tough on people; for dogs it can be downright dangerous, especially if they’re left inside a hot car.
“Dogs don’t release heat like we do,” said Dr. Nancy Wilborn, an associate professor at LSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine. “We sweat. Dogs don’t sweat, so they have to pant to release heat and if you think about it, they’re panting and they’re breathing in hot air. That’s just making them hotter if they’re pulling in 100° air as they’re panting, trying to cool off, they can’t cool themselves off that way.”
Dr. Welborn says even if dogs are left inside the car for only a few minutes, it can be dangerous.
“A normal body temperature for a dog is anywhere from 99 to 102.5,” she said. “Once they get to 104, 105° they start having issues with all their internal organs. Their blood pressure gets affected, their heart rate gets affected, and then once they get higher than that, it starts affecting their brain.”
Even cracking your windows is not a safe option.
“When you think about it, there’s no airflow through the car and so all you’re doing is letting in more hot air," she said.
If your dog has been in a hot car or has just been getting overheated, Dr. Welborn says you need to get them inside and in the air conditioning as quickly as possible. You can pour cool, not cold, water over their ears and paws to help them cool off, then take them to the vet.
She says the best thing is to just not expose them to the heat and not leave them inside the car.