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Don't Bake Your Pets

The dog days of summer are upon us. Travelers with pets need to keep in mind how quickly parked vehicles can heat up.
Last year, we had triple-digit heat by mid July in Monroe and El Dorado. This year, outdoor air temperatures have remained below 100, so far. But that doesn't mean the heat inside of your car is any safer for your pets.

Some pets, like reptiles, enjoy the heat. But for others, it's can become a big issue.

"It is something that people certainly need to be worried about," warned Dr. Clint Harper, Associate Veterinarian.

Dr. Harper worries about it on a daily basis during the summer months.

"We have seen several cases where they come in with heat stroke or are in respiratory distress," mentioned Dr. Harper.

Dogs are the pet most owners often choose as a travel companion. But when the owner that the dog trusts and loves so much chooses to run into the grocery store or the coffee shop for a quick five minutes, the poor pooch starts to panic.

"They try to get out," explained Dr. Harper. "They may be scratching at the windows, scratching at the door, scratching at the seat, all those things as they're trying to get out of the car."

That's because even with the windows cracked, the oven-on-wheels' interior temperature approaches 120 easily on a day when it's in the 90s outside.

Dogs have a furry coat which means they can't sweat to keep cool like us humans.

They pant as one way to fight the heat. But certain breeds of dogs face issues with even that too.

"It does tend to be more of a problem with the smoosh-face dogs, what we call the brachycephalic dogs: bulldogs, pugs, Shih-Tzus, things like that," remarked Dr. Harper. "The ones that don't breathe well and aren't able to cool themselves, those are the ones that we see most commonly."

If you can't leave the dog at home, Dr. Harper says crank up the A/C.

"If you absolutely had to leave the dog in the car, leave it running, leave the air conditioner on, under no circumstances is just leaving the windows cracked acceptable."

And he offers one piece of common sense advice, "If it's too hot for you in the car, then it's too hot for the dog to be left in the car."
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