Vets Agree: On Hot Days, Keep Fido at Home!

Burning Alive: What Happens to Your Dog in a Hot Car

Aug 8, 2016 | Dewdney Animal Hospital

I think I speak on behalf of all veterinarians with my plea: “Leave your dog at home this summer. Dogs die in hot cars.”

Unfortunately people don’t listen, make excuses, or try to find loopholes. Before summer even began this year, the BC SPCA had 151 calls of animals in distress. It’s not complicated. Leave your dog at home.

You can watch me subject myself to this torment (again) in our video. The things I’ll do to prove a point! Or, if you’ve already watched, continue below to read about what exactly happens to a dog in a hot car. The descriptions may seem graphic for sensitive readers: but to solve a problem we must know the details. Pass this message along to warn your friends and family!

If you see a dog in a hot car, please contact the RCMP or the BCSPCA at 1-855-622-7722. The BCSPCA and the RCMP have collaborated to help animals in distress.


Stage 1: The body tries to cool itself down
Your dog starts panting and drooling, and her blood vessels dilate in attempt to keep her cool. Her paws (the only place she can sweat out of) are wet but there is no cool breeze to help evaporate the moisture and cool her down.

Stage 2: Blood pressure changes
The heart has to work much harder to supply the body with blood due to dilated blood vessels. Eventually, her blood pressure will start to drop and blood will begin to pool in her organs. Panic sets in.

Stage 3: Organ damage
The body directs blood towards internal organs and away from the skin in an attempt to help her. The cells in the kidneys suffer thermal damage and blood clots start to form. Liver, intestine and stomach cells start to experience damage and begin dying. She is getting weak and dizzy. She might experience bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Tiny blood clots start forming in the brain, which begins to swell.

Stage 4: The body reaches 42.8C (109F)
Her body is shutting down. Her internal organs begin to bake within her body. Fluid will fill in her lungs and she will have trouble breathing. She suffers irreversible brain damage. Her body convulses and seizures. She goes into a coma that she will not come out of. It is painful, lonely, and completely preventable.


PLEASE keep your dogs at home. 


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Dewdney Diaries is a blog updated every month, recounting the exciting and interesting stories at Dewdney Animal Hospital. There's never a dull day at Dewdney!

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