Canine Car Safety

dog-hot-car-_Karen_Roach_largeSummer is the season to take a Sunday drive around town or go on beach vacations. With Georgia summer temperatures averaging in the mid 80s to the mid 90s, it is important to make sure all your passengers stay comfortable, even your canines. Here at the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia (HSNEGA), we pulled together some facts to help educate you on the importance of never leaving your dogs in the car on a hot summer’s day.

Let’s start with a little education about your dog.  The average body temperature for a healthy adult dog ranges is around 102.5 °F under normal circumstances. Their body temperature is already several degrees higher than a human’s. But unlike humans, a dog’s only way to regulate heat is by panting, but at the cost of body fluid and dehydration.  At a body temperature of 103 °F dogs start to experience non-fever hyperthermia and at 106°F  they experience heat stroke.

Now onto some fun facts about your vehicle. The average motor vehicle is made from materials such as steel, plastic, rubber, aluminum, and glass… all materials that trap, conduct, and distribute heat.  The temperature of a car can rise 20 °F in an average of 10 minutes.  According to the American Kennel Club, the temperature needs to only be 81-85°F  for a dog to begin showing sign of heat distress.  Therefore, leaving your dog in a hot car even for just 6 minutes with the windows open puts your pet at great risk.  Dogs especially at risk for multiple organ failure or death are senior dogs and puppies.

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Word to the wise, please leave your dogs at home when the temp are over 70 °F. If you must take your dog in the car, please make sure it is never left alone. Friends don’t leave friends in a hot car.

If you are out and about in Hall County this summer and see a dog left alone in a car, especially if the vehicle is in direct sunlight, the outside temperature is over 80 °F, the car has no ventilation (cracked windows, air running) and/or the dog seems to be in distress (heavy panting, lethargic, non-responsive), please call 770-531-6830 during the day and 770-536-8812 after 5 pm and on the weekends. Hall County Animal Control will be alerted and respond to calls of animals left in a vehicle. The officer will try to make contact with the owner to remedy the situation, can take additional steps to help the animals, and bring charges if warranted.

Written by Leah Hodges, HSNEGA Marketing Communications Intern

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