Hot dogs are meant for the grill, not the car!

After an unseasonably cool spring this year in Northern Virginia,  it looks like the traditional hot, humid, and sticky weather is back in the mid-Atlantic region.  None of us at LVH are complaining though- we welcome the warmer weather and longer days- it gives us all an excuse to get out and enjoy the beauty of Loudoun County and surrounding areas with our pets.

However, as the mercury rises, we do need to take some extra consideration when planning trips with our pets.  Yes, it’s convenient to bring Fido along as you run errands, or on your way to the dog park or lake,  but car temperatures increase at a much quicker rate compared to the outside air temperature.

According to  The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), hundreds of pets die each year from heat-related stresses because they are left in parked cars.  The AVMA has a great article posted on their website with suggestions for keeping your pet safe during car travel.

As the AVMA discusses (and as outlined in the chart below), the temperature inside a car can rise almost 20º F in just 10 minutes and 34º F in 30 minutes.  That means if the outside air temperature is 75º F, the temperature inside the car is 109º F!

Heat Stroke - Hot Dogs are Meant for the Grill.jpg

Recognizing and Responding to Heat Stroke

Unlike  humans, dogs and cats do not sweat.  Instead, excess heat is released by panting and through the pads of their feet.  While heat-related stresses and heat stroke (hyperthermia) can occur to any animal, smaller-nosed breeds like Pugs, Boxers, and Bulldogs, and cats such as Persians and Himalayans, are more susceptible because of their shorter nasal airways; they cannot breathe and pant as efficiently as breeds with longer noses.  Other animals who may be more susceptible are those with thick fur or overweight.

Symptoms of heat stroke include excessive panting, excessive drooling, dizziness, weakness, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.  If you notice these symptoms,call us immediately.   Do not immerse your pet in ice or cold water – this can lead to shock. Instead, mist your pet with cool water at home and en route to the hospital. Left untreated, heat stroke can cause serious damage to organs and may lead to seizures, coma, and death.

So go ahead- plan a day to the lake or park this summer with your favorite furry friend.  But while you’re grilling up some dogs and burgers, make sure your pet is relaxing the day away under a big shade tree!

RELATED: A message about feeding ice to pets.

We have been hearing of recent concerns about feeding ice and ice water to dogs causing health problems.  Please be aware that this is an internet rumor that has been circulating for several years.

According to LVH’s Dr. Jennifer Boyle, there is no documented or suspected link between feeding ice/ice water to dogs or cats and serious health concerns.  The only exception would be that it is not recommended to give anything cold by mouth to a small neonate (ie. an animal less than 2 months old that weighs less than 5 lbs) because it could lower their body temperature.

One Comment on “Hot dogs are meant for the grill, not the car!

  1. Reblogged this on Leesburg Vet Blog and commented:

    Tell us it’s true- the cold temps may finally be over in Northern Virginia! This article was originally posted in June 2014, but is important information as the weather (finally!) begins to warm up.

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