Cars can heat up like an oven even if the windows are rolled down. Open windows actually have little effect on the internal temperature, and the hotter the day, the faster a car's temperature rises. With summer days currently ranging from 80° to 90° in Massachusetts, it can take 10 minutes or less for the inside of a car to turn deadly. The following video demonstrates how an NFL player can only last a short amount of time in a hot car before escaping the fatal heat:
As the video explains, Tyrann Mathieu could only last 8 minutes before leaving the car, but dogs do not have the ability to escape such conditions. At this point when dogs are unable to reduce their body temperature by panting, heatstroke can set in.
Symptoms of Heatstroke:
If you see a dog trapped in a car displaying these symptoms, there are ways to help. Firstly, it should be noted that in Massachusetts it is illegal to break into a car in order to remove an animal, but a bill for helping animals in hot cars is in the works. For now, the best scenario is to call local police or animal control immediately if the dog shows signs of heatstroke, and take down the vehicle's make, model, and license plate number. Alert nearby businesses and attempt to locate the owner. If possible, find other witnesses and do not leave the scene until the situation is resolved.
Of course the best way to prevent an emergency scenario is to not leave your pet inside a car, especially on a scorching hot day. Try not to travel with your dog if the temperature is too high, even going for a walk on a day where it is 80° can cause the pavement to burn a dog's paws. The ground can also reflect heat onto their bodies, which can lead to heatstroke. If the asphalt is too hot to touch, then it is too hot for your dog.
During these last few weeks of summer, remember that it's okay to relax once in awhile. Let your pets chill in front of the air conditioning, or in the shade of a backyard pool. Remember to stay hydrated, keep a water bowl out, take plenty of naps, and receive well-earned cuddles and kisses!
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