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Travelling with pets is something we all have to do at some point, whether it’s a trip to the vets or to the park for a romp. However, vehicles are inherently more dangerous for pets than humans, partly because it’s not as easy to strap them in properly, but mainly because, when the temperatures soar, it can be very difficult for dogs to cool themselves down.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the dangers of leaving your dog in a hot car, before moving on to some tips to keep your four-legged chum safe whilst travelling in the summer.
What you need to know
Unfortunately, there are far too many people that leave their dogs in a car on a hot day, which can quickly prove fatal if the temperature is high enough. In most cases, this is as much due to ignorance as it is negligence, which is why we’re here to share with you some important facts:
- Cracking the window won’t help: Just because you’ve opened a window a tad, this doesn’t mean that your dog will feel any cooler, so don’t think this is a solution. The indoor temperature of your vehicle will still be extremely high.
- Parking in the shade won’t help: There are two clear reasons why parking in the shade won’t save your dog if they’re left in the car: 1) your car will still absorb heat when left in the shade, so the indoor temperature will still climb to high levels, and 2) a spot that’s shady now will probably be in direct sunlight in an hour or so.
- Dogs can’t sweat: As we’re sure you know, dogs pant rather than sweat to cool themselves down. Unfortunately, this method becomes less and less effective as the temperature rises in a car, which means your dog has no means to mitigate the stifling heat.
It’s also worth noting that young, overweight and elderly dogs – and breeds with thick, dark coats or inherent respiratory problems – are far more vulnerable to the heat, so bear this in mind.
Understanding the difference between in-car and outside temperature
Another reason why owners leave their pets in a vehicle for too long is that they simply don’t understand just how hot the inside of their vehicle gets, and how quickly it can get there.
Let’s take a day that’s 24 degrees Celsius, a pretty common temperature in an English summer.
After just 10 minutes, the inside temperature of the vehicle has already reached 35 degrees. After 30 minutes, the indoor temperature will have soared to 42 degrees. These are extremely dangerous temperatures.
How to travel safely with your dog in the summer
Here are some essential tips to ensure that you can keep your dog safe in the summer:
- Where possible, only travel with your dog in the morning or the evening (the coolest times of the day).
- Make sure you have water with you that your dog will be able to drink if they become thirsty.
- Consider buying a cooling mat for your pet, these can be a really useful tool to keep your dog comfortable on long journeys.
- Never, under any circumstances, leave your dog alone in the car, no matter how fast you think you might be. If your dog is in the car with you on a hot day, they should be monitored at all times.
- If you are going to take your dog with you in the car, you need to know the signs of heatstroke:
- Heavy panting
- Excessive drooling
- Drowsy, lethargy, or a lack of coordination
- Signs of vomiting