Do you ever stop and wonder what your dog is thinking about? As humans, we only have a limited understanding of a dog’s emotions and how it communicates. One thing we know to be certain is that dogs love their owners more than life itself and want to do anything and everything to make them happy. One of those things is graciously accepting an invite to go for a ride in the car. Many dogs owners often do this fun activity with their furry friend. However, some dogs owners elect to leave their dog in the car when running errands. Little do they know that the temperature inside their car can increase rapidly, leaving their dog’s life in peril. In fact, car temperatures can climb to over 115 degrees Fahrenheit at times.

It doesn’t take much for your dog to overheat. Although dogs have the natural ability to cool themselves through their skin and by panting, hot weather is a different story and precautions should be taken. As an example, if it’s 70 degrees outside, your car’s temperature can climb to as high as 89 degrees. During the summer, it’s not unlikely that every day is above 70 degrees, which means that you should be paying extra special attention to your dog’s physical condition.

If you happen to see a pet inside a hot car and realize that the pet is in distress, your best action to take is to call local law enforcement. Once you contact law enforcement, stay by the vehicle until help arrives.

It’s important to know the signs of heat stroke: panting, drooling, and lethargy. If the pet is in the advanced stages of heat stroke, you may see that its gums are either grey or blue or that the pet has slumped posture, may be breathing heavily, or it may be in a state of shock.

Here’s what you should do in order to cool the pet down:

  • Get them to an air-conditioned environment.
  • Wet their ears and pads of their feet with cool water (not frigidly cold water)
  • Place cool, wet towels over the shoulder/neck, under the front legs, and in the groin area.
  • Refresh the water frequently.
  • If the pet will drink, provide cool water or small ice chips.

Here’s what to do if the pet is unresponsive:

  • Call an emergency veterinarian immediately and tell them you’re on your way.
  • If you see that their gums are gray or blue, this is an indication that they are in immediate need of treatment and should be rushed to the nearest emergency treatment center.
  • They will help cool the pet and may also give it subcutaneous fluids.
  • It’s important to note that dogs with short noses or long hair are most at risk of heat stroke.
  • On hot days, limit exercise to the early morning or late evening hours.
  • Use the seven-second rule to prevent burning paws on hot pavement or asphalt. If the ground is too hot for you, it’s too hot for them.

During the hot summer, it may be best to keep your pets indoors and in a cool, controlled environment.