With the summer here, pet travel is at its height. Whether you’re parking in the shade, just running into the store, or leaving the windows cracked, it is still not OK to leave your pet in a parked car. The temperature inside a car can skyrocket after just a few minutes. Parking in the shade or leaving the windows cracked does very little to alleviate this pressure cooker.

On a warm, sunny day try turning your car off, cracking your windows and sitting there. It will only be a few short minutes before it becomes unbearable. Imagine how your helpless pet will feel?

On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows cracked can reach 102 degrees within only 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. At 110 degrees, pets are in danger of heatstroke. On hot and humid days, the temperature in a car parked in direct sunlight can rise more than 30 degrees per minute, and quickly become lethal. The solution is simple: leave your pets at home if the place you are going does not allow pets.

Dogs are designed to conserve heat. Their sweat glands, which exist on their nose and the pads of their feet, are inadequate for cooling during hot days. Panting and drinking water helps cool them, but if they only have hot air to breathe, dogs can suffer brain and organ damage after just 15 minutes. Short-nosed breeds, young pets, seniors or pets with weight, respiratory, cardiovascular or other health problems are especially susceptible to heat-related stress.

Signs of heat stress include: heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting or a deep red or purple tongue. If a pet becomes overheated, immediately lowering their body temperature is a must. Move the pet into the shade and apply cool (not cold) water all over their body to gradually lower their temperature.

• Apply ice packs or cool towels to the pet’s head, neck and chest only.

• Allow the pet to drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.

• Then take the pet to the nearest vet.

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