Many years ago, my mother told me a story about a friend of hers named Bonnie. Bonnie’s family had a great dog that she took everywhere with her. The dog was a big, goofy black Lab named Frank. He was wonderful with the kids and the whole family just loved him. One lovely sunny day on a trip to the grocery store, Bonnie left Frank in the car for what she thought would be a quick trip inside. When she returned to her car, she found that Frank had died from heatstroke. Heartbroken, she could never face telling her children what really happened to their beloved family pet.
On a warm day, even with the windows cracked open, the temperature inside a car can reach 160 degrees in minutes. Parking in the shade isn’t a solution since shade moves. In the summertime, never, ever leave your dog in the car during the day. The best answer is to just leave your dog at home.
If your dog gets overheated, you need to lower his body temperature. The signs of heat stress include, heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, dizziness, vomiting, and a deep red or purple tongue. To lower the dog’s temperature, find some shade and apply cool (but not cold) water over his body. You also can apply ice packs or cold towels to the head neck and chest. Let the dog drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes and be sure to get him to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
If absolutely must leave your dog in the car however briefly, park in the shadiest spot you can find, put a sun shade up in the windshield, and invest in a set of window ventilation grilles, so you can safely leave the windows open. Even with these precautions, don’t leave the dog inside the car for more than 10 minutes. Those few minutes can be the difference between life and death.