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Education

PETS IN VEHICLES

Dogs, cats and children die in hot cars!  Don't leave any living being unattended in a car.

 

When it’s 22°C/72°F outside, the temperature inside a car can reach 47°C/117°F within minutes.

 

Dogs can't sweat, they pant to keep cool. In hot stuffy cars they can’t cool down - leaving a window open or a sunshield on windscreens won’t keep your car cool enough!

 

If you see a dog in a car on a warm day, have the owner paged in the store or call 911. Stay with the car/dog until help arrives - if the dog becomes alarmingly distressed, try the doors and, if necessary, smash the window yourself - better to save a life and apologize for the window later. 

 

Heatstroke can be fatal. Some dogs are more prone than others:

 

  • dogs with short snouts

  • fatter/muscley dogs

  • long-haired breeds

  • old/young dogs

  • dogs with certain diseases/on certain medication

Dogs will suffer from heatstroke when they can’t reduce their body temperature. Symptoms include:

 

  • heavy panting 

  • profuse salivation 

  • rapid pulse 

  • very red gums/tongue 

  • lethargy 

  • lack of coordination 

  • reluctance/inability to rise after collapsing 

  • vomiting 

  • diarrhoea 

  • loss of consciousness

 

Heatstroke - FIRST AID:

 

Act quickly, heatstroke can be fatal! If dog shows any signs of heatstroke, move it to a shaded, cool area and call your vet immediately.

 

Urgently but gradually lower the dog's body temperature by immediately dousing the dog with cool (not cold) water to avoid shock – place dog in the breeze of a fan or have someone fan the dog.

 

Offer a drink of small amounts of cool water.

 

Continue dousing until dog's breathing settles – never cool a dog so much that it begins shivering.

 

Once your dog is cool, immediately go to the vet.

Buckle Up!

Just like people, your pet should always be properly restrained while in the vehicle. That means a secure harness or a secured carrier.

 

A pet can crawl down in the footwell, interfering with the brake or accelerator pedal. In a collision, a pet on your lap can be injured or killed by the airbag or crushed between your body and the airbag, and can interfere with your view or ability to steer.  Dogs sticking their heads out of car windows can sustain eye injuries from stones, insects, dust and other debris.

 

Unrestrained pets can be thrown through windshields or windows in a collision, or escape after a collision only to be run over, and also increase your risk of collision by distracting - taking your attention away from where it should be – on the road.

You buckle up yourself and your children, why would your pets be any different?  

 

For a full report on pet harnesses tested, visit Consumer Reports magazine.