I tried to find some statistics on how many dogs left in cars die from heat stroke per year. It is estimated to be several hundred each summer, but most of the deaths go unreported.
These are totally preventable deaths. We have all heard the warnings, yet many owners still think they can just run in to a store “for a minute” and their animal will be safe. On an 85 degree day (most of the country is well above that currently) it only takes 10 minutes for the inside car temp to reach 105.
If you see an animal in a locked car in the summer heat, call the police immediately. If in a parking lot, notify store employees.
Dr. Marty Becker advises the following if an animal is suffering from heat stroke and needs immediate help:
- Begin cooling procedures by soaking her body with cool water – cool, but not cold. Use a hose, wet towels or any other source of cool water that is handy. Take her temperature if possible.
- Concentrate the cooling water on her head, neck and in the areas underneath her front and back legs. Carefully cool her tongue if possible, but don’t let water run into her throat as it could get into her lungs. Never put water in a dog’s mouth that can’t swallow on its own. Put a fan on her if possible – it will speed up the cooling process.
- After a few minutes, re-check her temperature. If her temp is at or below 104 degrees, stop the cooling process. Further cooling could lead to blood clotting or a too-low body temperature. Get her to a veterinary clinic right away, even if she seems to be recovering.