Vet Reminds Dog Owners: Don’t Leave Pets in Cars on Sunny Days

Updated 5 years ago

As our forecast slowly starts to include more warm, sunny days this spring, a local vet is urging folks to remember — that means we need to leave pets at home when we head out in the car.”Always park in the shade, leave windows down, only go in for a minute. But boy, that’s when things can go bad. If you go in for a minute and get distracted and you end up away from your vehicle for a long time.”Dr. David Cloutier with Veazie Vet Clinic says, don’t forget, it can take only a few minutes on a sunny day before things get bad for a dog left in a car. The problem is heat stroke, after your dog’s temperature starts to elevate and it can’t cool itself off.”It doesn’t have to go very far before cellular damage starts to occur, actually doing damage to their internal organs. And even if you come out and let them out of the car, that core body temperature is still high.”He says if you think your pet has overheated, trying to slowly cool them down and giving them water might not be enough. At that point, bring them to the vet.”We’ll begin to cool them with a cool water bath, also an IV cath and we’ll start cooling fluids, to try and help some of those organs that are shutting down to support them and maybe function again.”He says there’s no hard and fast rule to go by — no certain temperature or length of time he’ll deem “safe” for a dog in a car on a sunny day.”A good rule of thumb is, if it’s sunny and I’m worried at all, I probably don’t want to leave the dog in the car.”Cloutier says, just think ahead to prevent a sad situation for you and your pet.”It’s almost always an accident. It’s almost always that unintentional, ‘I didn’t think it was that hot, I didn’t realize it had turned sunny, I didn’t think I was there that long,'” he says. “And it happens.”


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