Dogs, Summertime, Heat Stroke and Dehydration Warning

by on May 20, 2013

in consumer

Dog Vader 2012-DSC00624

The heat of Summer is either upon us or will be soon. But don’t be fooled. Heat can be interpreted as anything above 70 or 75 degrees, depending on the situation. And then, if you’re unlucky enough, you get to experience your dog having heat stroke form dehydration.

Did you know that a dog is sixty percent water and yet, they can dehydrate at an incredibly fast rate, compared to us, or the stupid humans that leave them in their locked up car on a hot day.

And your dog isn’t always the best indicator of needing water, believe it or not.

When humans overheat, we sweat and drink fluids. Dogs don’t. They drink water to cool down, in addition to panting and sweating from their feet (per PETA). Yet panting in the hot air from inside the car doesn’t remedy the situation. Gimme a break.

But if they’re overheated, and on their way to medical dehydration, they might get confused and not want water. Yep… that’s when you are too late with your inattentive mode of caring for your family member.

dog hydration - 2013-DSC02356

When I take my dog out to play or hike, half my water supply is for him. I have a collapsible dog bowl and lots of water. If I’ve gone through more than half his water, I start considering shutting down the play time or turning around on the hike.

Sure, you think the dog would know when to drink, but not always. If Fido starts looking lethargic or disoriented, or is showing a surprising lack of appetite, then he/she is possibly getting dried out (dehydrated).

Seeing as how I have become a bit sidetracked about keeping Fido hydrated, let’s talk about leaving your dog in the car.

Summer is coming and this is a popular time to talk about not killing your dog by leaving it in the car. But it doesn’t have to be summer for that to happen.

When temps start soaring over 75 degree is when you need to ponder the premise of NOT leaving your dog in the car. Why?

— When does 75 equal 118? Or 81 equals 138? Or 90 equal 143? That’s easy. When that first number is the outside temperature and that second number is what it becomes inside a car with windows up or “cracked” open.

And while your family friend is panting away inside the car, how exactly do you think they (dogs) cool down?

Well, they can’t in an over-sized egg cooker called your car.

— Just because it’s 75 out and it seems OK to you, it’s not, really. It’s hot. And a car seems akin to a giant magnifier of heat, sucking the life out of your dog.

And this brings me to that stupid f*ng phrase, “I’ll only be five minutes.

Really? Have you ever timed your five-minute tasks? Nope. Because it takes five minutes to get out, lock up and walk into the store.

It takes five minutes to go to one aisle, pick up one thing, and hit the register. Your idea of five minutes is probably more like ten and could even be upwards of fifteen or twenty. Especially if you run into someone in the store, run into an issue in the store, or what not.

The next phrase, being, “He’ll be fine” is my other pet peeve.

If he’ll be fine, I’d love to see you sit in the car, as you leave it for your dog, to see how it really feels and think about what you’re doing to your dog.

Dog in a cool car... no dog overheating here2013

At the moment 14 states have laws about leaving your animal in a hot car. And some of those states have penalties for the selfish, mindless act, including being charged for a misdemeanor to time in jail, depending on what happens to the animal.

And where states may not have laws, local ordinances can or do get used to deal with some extreme issues. And my favorite, some states allow law enforcement to break windows to rescue animals, like here in CA.

“Peace officer, humane officer, or animal control officer is authorized to take all steps that are reasonably necessary for the removal of an animal from a motor vehicle.”

Seriously folks, you need to think about Fido as much as you do yourself. Ask yourself, hey, would I want to be sitting in that car, where it’s parked? Is the cracked window going to be good enough for you if you were contemplating sitting in the car?

If you don’t have a resounding yes in your head, then move the car so some shade, regardless of the distance or defer your store trip and take the dog home where he/she will be safe.

According to sources, it only takes ten minutes for a dog to start suffering heat stroke and other issues and they can suffer brain damage in 107 degree temps, and die in 120 degree heat. 107 is sitting in a parked car when the temps are just under 75. That 120 mark is equal to temps just over 75. (With “the windows cracked” in direct sunlight.


Here’s the text of the CA law:

Leave or confine an animal in any unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of an animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal.

First conviction: fine not exceeding $100 per animal.

If the animal suffers great bodily injury, a fine not exceeding $500, imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding 6 months, or by both.

Any subsequent violation of this section, regardless of injury to the animal, punishable by a fine not exceeding $500, imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both.

Vader is a cool dog in a cool car 2012-DSC00282

So the question is, how do I really feel? And my hope, is that this brings some new form of awareness to someone’s life. (And if you ever leave your dog in a hot car, and you come out and find your window is busted out… well, I might have been there!)

= = =



If you liked the pics of my “Dog Model,” you can catch him on his Facebook Page at Vader’s World. (That final image is of Vader in his first car ride with us, going home after we picked him up from his foster home. Yes, he is sizing me up, trying to figure out if I’m trainable or not.)

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