With summer officially underway, the weather in Chicago will continue to heat up. While you may be used to driving around Lakeview or Lincoln Park with your pup, there are some important things to remember before leaving them in the car.
On June 21, the high was 72 degrees but within the following week temperatures will reach a high of 92 degrees. According to The Humane Society, “when it’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit within an hour. When it’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 99 degrees Fahrenheit within 10 minutes.” One company, My Dog is Cool, is dedicated to educating the public about the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car. On their website, it states “According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), leaving windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the rising heat rate.”
A dog’s normal temperature is between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, but your pup is unable to sustain high body temperatures for an extended period. Per Red Rover, “exposure to excessive heat causes the body’s cells to stop working properly and release dangerous chemicals, which can lead to nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage and even death. Essentially, all of the dog’s organ systems shut down at once.” Some symptoms of heat-related illness include excessive panting or drooling, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, and disorientation. In extreme cases collapse or sudden loss of consciousness, seizure or respiratory arrest can occur.
Per the Illinois General Assembly, the law in Illinois is as follows for pets left in cars: “No owner or person shall confine any animal in a motor vehicle in such a manner that places it in a life or health threatening situation by exposure to a prolonged period of extreme heat or cold, without proper ventilation or other protection from such heat or cold. In order to protect the health and safety of an animal, an animal control officer, law enforcement officer, or Department investigator who has probable cause to believe that this Section is being violated shall have authority to enter such motor vehicle by any reasonable means under the circumstances after making a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person responsible.”
So whether you are just running a quick errand or going out for brunch, leave your pup at home where they will stay cool and the risk of them having any heat-related complications is avoided.
For more information on how to keep your pet cool in the summer, click here.
Written for Blum Animal Hospital by Jackie Sheppard.