Baked Pets

Dog On A Car RideThe sun is high in the sky. The days are beautiful and warm. Fido needs to stay cool but wants to go for a car ride. It will only be a short trip, just 10 minutes to pick up a few items at the store. Those few items become a few more. Your best friend from high school is in the cashier lane in front of you. Ten minutes becomes 30 minutes. When you return to your car, Fido is unconscious.

We hope this has not happened to you. If it has, we extend our deepest sympathies to you and your pet.

Fido has just suffered heat stroke. Heat stroke is caused by over baking Fido. Cars are like miniature ovens in the sun. The internal temperature can reach more than 120°F in less than 20 minutes! Just think how that steering wheel feels at the end of the day.

Dogs and cats have internal temperatures of about 102°F.. They do not sweat, but instead they pant. The expulsion of carbon dioxide from their breath and the consumption of oxygen as they pant to stay cool increases their temperature by more than 1 degree every 5 minutes in an oven (car) at 120°F.

Dog In A Car SeatOften these pets present with temperatures in excess of 108°F. Brain death occurs at 110°F and brain damage can occur at 107°F. Unfortunately, unconscious pets often times do not awake even with aggressive treatment.

Treatment involves rapid cooling with chilled fluids, chilled enemas, shock treatment and intensive care. Once Fido’s temperature gets to 101°F, we change our attitude and start the warming process. The brain does not have the ability to keep the body warm once the cooling process starts, due to the fact that brain damage has likely occurred. Paradoxically, many dogs and cats actually die of hypothermia instead of hyperthermia in these instances.

Bottom line: Don’t take Fido on short trips with you this summer. Don’t leave Fido in the car alone. If you would be reluctant to leave your child in the car, be reluctant to leave Fido.

Enjoy the summer with your pet and remember to leave Fido at home.

Hudson Road Animal Hospital
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