In many places, laws have been passed which make it illegal for people to leave their pets unattended in parked vehicles. On sunny days when the outside temperature may be only 65?F, the inside of a parked car can exceed 90? in just 10 minutes!
If you're caught in line at the bank for half an hour, that temperature can easily climb to 120?.
Heatstroke is a life-threatening state of extreme hyperthermia. All mammals have the ability to regulate their internal body temperature. For dogs "normal" is around 101? - 103?. But the body's ability to self-regulate can be compromised by high ambient temperatures.
In a closed car, a dog temperature regulating system will quickly be out of control, and their internal or core body temperature will start to rise.
Heatstroke will affect your pet's entire body. His cardiovascular system will experience an increased metabolic rate, and oxygen consumption will likewise increase. The respiratory system will show signs of hyperventilation which will affect the acid balance of his entire body. Your pet will go into acute respiratory failure, muscle tissue will begin to break down, the coagulation system will begin to fail and fluid will accumulate in the brain.
The early signs of heatstroke are rapid panting accompanied by a fast heartbeat and general confusion. The dogs gums and tongue may be red and dry. As the condition progresses the symptoms worsen, and the dogs gums and tongue may now appear greyish, and the animal may experience vomiting and diarrhoea. Beyond this stage, there will be seizures, coma, and eventually death.
If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke, get medical attention immediately.Remove your pet from the source of heat and get them to a cooler area. Soak his fur with cool (not cold) water starting with the paws, legs and neck, and then the rest of his body. Check his temperature frequently, and stop cooling when it reaches 103? (Excessive cooling can cause hypothermia, and shock.) Please take every precaution with your precious pet during the heat waves. Know the symptoms of heatstroke, and how to provide emergency treatment if necessary. Only you can ensure that your dog does not become one of this summer's tragic statistics.