Even though it’s summer, we know members’ schedules are busy as ever. These lazy days aren’t quite so lazy, even if you fill them with everything you love to do. Between trips to the beach, rides to the neighborhood ice cream stand and weekend road trips, our members spend a lot of time in the car — and that’s just for the fun stuff. We know members juggle those activities along with work, ferrying kids to camp and fitting in the usual doctor and dentist appointments that seem to crop up every summer.
With all that time you spend in the car, it’s easy to forget important passengers during “quick stops” that can stretch on longer than you expected. Every summer, many dogs and other pets are at risk when left in cars in warm temperatures.
On a 60 degree day, a car parked in partial sun can quickly grow dangerously hot, even with the windows partially opened. A panting dog can both add to the warmth and be more attuned to the heat with a faster pulse and respiration. On a slightly warmer day, a car parked in the shade can climb from 78 degrees to over 90 degrees in just 20 minutes, endangering both human and animal occupants.
As dogs cannot sweat to self-regulate body temperature, they rely on breathing cooler air and pressing their paws against cooler surfaces. When we think of cooler temperatures in the summer, most of us just turn on the air. But even when owners mean well, their animals can be at risk. If you consider parking your car with the air conditioning running, your car can suffer the same way your dog will: if the engine overheats from the sun and outside air temperature, the compressor can turn off, causing the AC to start blowing warm air.
So what’s the best way to leave your dog in the car in the summertime? Don’t. On warm days, leave him at home with a good supply of fresh drinking water. If the whole family is going camping, make sure you’re bringing water and a bowl he can enjoy either in the car or at rest stops.