With the spring and summer sun gracing our skies (finally!), it’s time to remind everyone about the dangers of leaving your dogs in the car!
Leaving your pet in a car, whether the windows are “cracked” or not, can be likened to putting them in an oven, even with surprisingly low temperatures and lengths of time with them in there.
What happens when your pet is in there as the temperature is rising, is that they are quite literally being “cooked” or “melted” by the rising temperature. I use these scary words, because this IS scary and something that needs to be taken very seriously. We have seen multiple dogs die this way and would love it if we never had to again <3
This is a general idea of what will happen:
1. They will first just feel warm, and will pant a lot, and their blood vessels will dilate in order to try to dissipate some of the heat.
2. Their heart will pump harder due to their vessels being dilated, and this leads to pooling of the blood in organs, and a drop in blood pressure.
3. Their heated blood starts to cause thermal damage to their organs, most likely starting with kidneys (which can lead to kidney failure), the gastrointestinal tract (which can lead to bloody diarrhea), and their liver (leading to liver failure). Tiny blood clots will start to form in the brain leading to brain swelling.
4. Brain swelling leads to irreversible brain damage, seizures, coma, and death.
THIS CAN ALL OCCUR ON A COOL BREEZY 20 DEGREE DAY WITH NO SUN and depending on the dog and how they react to the stress, in as LITTLE AS 5 MINUTES with the right conditions!
These are some rough guidelines – even if the actual temperature is lower, these numbers are even HIGHER when the sun is beating down on your car.
This chart is just meant to explain to you how serious this is – it should not be used as a guideline for figuring out whether to leave them in your car or not. As a general rule, if you cannot bring your dog with you when you are going somewhere in these temperate months, you should leave them at home.
We understand that this is difficult as I know we want to take the opportunity to bring our companions along with us on excursions, but if you don’t have time to drop them back at home before going to the store, then it is always better to have a safe baby back at home, rather than one in danger who got to go with you somewhere first <3
HELPFUL TIP – if before getting your pet to a vet because you think they may be experiencing heat exhaustion/stroke you want to try to cool them down, DO NOT USE ICE WATER – it is better to use “cool” water than freezing water, as freezing water will cause their blood vessels to constrict which will make things worse.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SEE A DOG IN A CAR THAT YOU ARE CONCERNED FOR
Some discretion should be used when addressing the situation, as not all situations are the same. If a dog (or cat) is in obvious IMMEDIATE distress, you will likely have to use the more aggressive approaches sooner.
· Check yourself if the door can open, without setting the pet free of course!
· Call the police! In Saint John, NB the number for the police is 648 3333 – if you cannot find this number and the situation is very urgent, it is okay to dial 9-1-1
o I have confirmed with the police department that they take these calls very seriously and WILL respond – this is a living creature (HIGH PRIORITY) and they will do all that they can to help, including helping you figure out what to do. They may ask you for a license plate number and this could help you in locating the owner more quickly.
· If you are at a store, immediately have the customer service desk call the people to their car
· Always call the police if you are really uncertain on how to proceed as they can help guide you in your intervention
· Also, once you have the situation dealt with, call the NBSPCA to come to the scene at 1 877 722 1522
Please comment or reach out to us if you have any questions or if we can help in any way! (506) 663 5221