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HOT CARS – The Real Facts
Pet Insurance Australia (PIA) is reminding all Australian pet owners of the dangers of leaving your dogs in hot cars.
“Once again we are asking ALL pet owners to refrain from leaving their dogs in cars, regardless of the temperature outside,” Nadia Crighton spokesperson for Pet Insurance Australia says. “Many dogs have perished during the recent sweltering summer overseas, and we are hoping this is not mirrored here in Australia.”
Dr. Chris Papantonio from the Colyton Vet Hospital in NSW agrees that this important message is just not getting through.
“Unfortunately I don’t believe the message is getting through,” he says. “We still see people leaving animals in cars just like we still see some people leaving children in the car.”
The research says it all; dogs die quickly in hot cars. Many *studies have now concluded that even with the windows cracked, the internal temperature of a car will rise at the same rate as with the windows closed. In fact 80% of the final temperature rise occurs in the first 30mins and cracking a window is not effective in decreasing either the rate of the heat increase or the maximum temperature reached.
“A *Standford University study revealed that when it’s only 22 degrees outside, the temperature inside your car will rise to a staggering 47.2 degrees within 60 minutes,” Crighton says. “If it’s hot outside, your cars internal temperature will climb to an unbearable and life threatening level.”
Another *study conducted by the Louisiana Office of Public Health discovered that temperatures in a dark car (and a light minivan) parked on a hot, but partly cloudy day, exceeded more than 51.6 degrees in as little as 20 minutes.
“These are the facts people MUST take into account,” Crighton says. “Twenty minutes in an unforeseeable long line at the supermarket, or bumping into a friend on the street.”
“At elevated temperatures body temperatures, the dogs cells die and organs begin to shut down increasing the risk of an animal going into shock and dying,” Dr Papantonio adds.
Most dog owners, like parents, will only crack the window for the fear of the pet escaping or theft of the vehicle.
“Dogs cannot efficiently cool themselves down as well as we do. A dog can succumb to heat stroke within minutes,” Dr Papantonio says. “We had a client transport their dog in the back of their car to the dog park. On the way, they dropped off at the shops to pick some things up and left him in the car. By the time they got to the dog park, the dog was already showing signs of heat stroke so they rushed him into us for treatment.”
An animal that is over-heating, can suffer irreversible organ damage and even death. Dogs are especially vulnerable as they cool off by panting and through the pads on their feet.
Dr Papantonio also warns that some breeds are particularly at risk of heatstroke.
“Brachycephalic breeds, such as Pugs and Bulldogs, are more susceptible to the heat as the conformation of their heads prevents adequate air flow and natural cooling of the body.”
“The heat can be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of your pet,” Crighton adds. “If you can not take your pet with you, please, leave them in the comfort and safety of their home.”
What to do if you see a dog struggling in a hot car?
*Take down the cars registration.
*Ask nearby business if you can make an announcement just in case the owner is in a café or shopping center.
*Call your local animal control / dog ranger or the local police.
*Wait by the car until help arrives.
Nadia Crighton – firstname.lastname@example.org
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Contact information: Nadia Crighton, Pet Insurance Australia, 95 Sixth Road, Berkshire Park, New South Wales 2765