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Summer, warm weather, holidays – it’s all about picnics in nature and trips to the beach. But for some dog owners, such family trips can end in tragedy. Owners usually try to include their pet in shared family activities, but not all places allow dogs. In this case, it is decided to leave the pet in the car, which can lead to unwanted consequences.

How dangerous is sunstroke for a dog?

Sunstroke is very harmful to dogs because their body cools itself by breathing instead of sweating. Excessive breathing can cause a whole range of metabolic disorders which, if not corrected, can lead to shock, coma or even death.

In hot weather, dogs can quickly become victims of sunstroke in a wide range of situations. This is why some breeds of dogs are at risk because of their coat – a long, dark coat traps heat. Dogs with flat muzzles, such as pugs and Pekingese, are at higher risk of sunstroke. Dogs with a higher weight and those suffering from heart problems should also beware. Sunstroke often occurs after strenuous exercise. However, it is more common for a dog to suffer sunstroke when left in a parked car.

Car as oven

Many people do not realize how suddenly the temperature can rise in a closed car in hot weather. The metal surface heats up quickly in the sun and becomes like an oven. If the windows are closed, the car heats up even faster. Closed windows let the sun’s rays into the car in the first place, but do not let them out, thus creating a greenhouse effect. Secondly, closed windows prevent fresh air from entering, which could lower the temperature. In warm and humid weather, the temperature in a car with closed windows, standing in the sun, can rise by more than 1 degree per minute.

The temperature becomes unbearable for the dog after just a few minutes. If there are clouds in the sky, the car is parked in the shade, or the windows are left open, it may take a little longer to warm up. However, on a hot day, the risk of overheating always remains. Even when the car is moving, good air circulation is essential, especially if your dog is in the back of a hatchback car.

What to do in case of sunstroke?

A dog suffering from sunstroke becomes sluggish, struggles to breathe or even loses consciousness. Its gums turn dark red and its temperature rises. In such a serious condition, the dog urgently needs the help of a vet. In the meantime, you must try to reduce the pet’s temperature by any means available. Pouring cold water over it or immersing it in an ice bath can save its life. Alternatively, you can add frozen ice-cream or a frozen food pack wrapped in a towel or other material to prevent ice burns. Quick actions vital for your pet in the first few minutes. Try to get your dog to the veterinary clinic as soon as possible, don’t waste time trying to help yourself. You can keep chilled packs with you on the way to the clinic, but be careful not to over freeze the dog. If in doubt, keep the dog cold for only 10 minutes.

How to protect your dog from sunstroke?

When the risk of sunstroke is high outdoors, it is better to leave your dog at home, where it will be comfortable enough. However, if you do have to leave your dog in the car for a while, use the following precautions. Park your car in the shade. Provide extra protection by covering the windows with a towel or blanket. Leave the windows open enough to allow air flow. Check that the dog cannot jump out of the open window. Such grilles provide ventilation and prevent the dog from escaping from the car. Reach

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