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If we find the scorching summer temperatures unbearable outside of our cars, imagine how our furry friends feel when trapped inside. Dog fatalities from extreme heat in cars are avoidable and all-too common.
Although leaving your pet in the car while you run a few errands may seem harmless, dogs can suffer from heatstroke in a matter of minutes, even if parked in the shade with the windows cracked.
“One study in the Journal of Pediatrics showed that cars parked in the sun showed an average of 40 degrees increase in internal temperature,” said Dr. James Barr, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “This means, in 100 degree temperature, the car could reach 140 degrees.”
Although rolling the car windows down may seem like a workable solution, this is not the case, even if you only plan to leave Fido in the car for a short period of time. Exposure to extreme heat for less than 20 minutes can still cause internal damage and be extremely harmful in the long run.
“That same study in the Journal of Pediatrics showed that the rate of temperature rise was slower if the car window was rolled down, but still remarkably dangerous and reached the same levels after 60 minutes,” Barr said. “So just rolling the window down is not sufficient.”
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