Keeping Your Dogs Cool In The Car

With school letting out across the United States, we are ready to mark the official start of Summer, which means the temperature will soon – or has been – start to rise. While the heat is a welcomed addition to the lives of many people, we also need to be more aware of the comfort and safety of our canine friends.

If we get overheated, we don’t need to rely on someone else to move us to a cooler area. We don’t have to communicate our discomfort to anyone and depend on their action for relief. Unfortunately, that is the case for dogs. They rely on us to ensure that the environment is comfortable.

One of the places where dogs don’t have an ability to control their own temperature is in vehicles. Summer is a great time to hit the open road and take a trip with your furry friend, but please be sure to not put them in a situation where they can be harmed due to overheating in vehicles, and tragically there are deaths every year.

As I was picking up groceries this weekend, I saw a sign posted at my local Wegmans grocery store that said the following. The sign had this text, which I have copied from a circular and pasted here.

A Pennsylvania shopper wrote us recently with an impassioned plea to pet owners not to leave dogs in hot cars. She cited some information about temperature escalation in a hot car, and I wanted to share this with you. I had not realized how quickly auto temperatures can rise on a hot day (though hot days have been few this season). And since 62% of American households have a pet – and 40% of these are dogs – it seems worth mentioning.

The customer cited information on a website www.MyDogIsCool.com, from United Animal Nations (UAN). Example: On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car … with the windows slightly opened… will reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes. In 30 minutes, it will go up to 120 degrees. On warmer days, of course, it will go even higher. Studies show that leaving the window open a crack does nothing to reduce the heat inside the vehicle.

A dog’s normal body temperature is 101.5 – 102.2 degrees. A dog can withstand a body temperature of 107 – 108 degrees F. for only a very short time before suffering irreparable brain damage, or even death. The closed car interferes with the dog’s normal cooling process.. that is, evaporation through panting. If you dog is overcome by heat exhaustion, UAN recommends giving immediate first aid by immersing him/her in cold water until body temperature is lowered.

At Wegmans, we pride ourselves on quick checkout, but even so, consider these facts next time you have your dog in the car, and run into the store for “just a minute”. The website mentioned above is a source of additional information.

May Ellen Burris – Senior Vice President of Consumer Affairs, WegmansCircular text

I checked out the website and found that there are great resources there to help raise awareness including printable sheets to share on people’s cars, hang in your business, or promote on social media.

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