Bullmarket French Bulldog Breeders

Summer Heat Kills Dogs – Again

Every year I hammer home warnings about what happens to dogs left in hot cars, even for a few moments. Time and again, people underestimate just how hot it can get, and how fast, inside of parked car. Windows partly rolled down? No difference. Parked in the shade? Ditto.

The simple truth is that dogs die in parked vehicles. The only way around this? Never, ever, ever leave your dog in a vehicle, even if the weather only seems mildly warm to you.

From FPRC comes this note about a temperature study done by Stanford University:

Stanford University School of Medicine conducted a study to measure the temperature rise inside a parked car on sunny days with highs ranging from 72 to 96 degrees F. Their results showed that a car’s interior can heat up by an average of 40 degrees F within an hour, regardless of ambient temperature. Ambient temperature doesn’t matter – it’s whether it’s sunny out. Eighty percent of the temperature rise occurred within the first half-hour. Even on a relatively cool day, the temperature inside a parked car can quickly spike to life-threatening levels if the sun is out.

Further, the researchers noted that much like the sun warms a greenhouse in winter; it also warms a parked car on cool days. In both cases, the sun heats up a mass of air trapped under glass. Precautions such as cracking a window or running the air conditioner prior to parking the car were found to be inadequate.

This summer, a well known professional handler has already learned that lesson, the hard way.

From the St. Louis Dispatch:

Seven high-priced show dogs, including one of the top Akitas in the country, are dead after being left by their handler for several hours in a hot van in Jefferson County.

Police say Mary Wild, a 24-year-old woman who was caring for the dogs, left them in a cargo van early Monday and went to bed after returning from a dog show in Iowa.

Ms. Wild, who is by all accounts an excellent handler, had moved the dogs from their kennels in a garage to her van, in the belief that it would be cooler there with fans running.

She told police she put six electric fans in the van to keep the dogs cool. She also left a door open to the van and the van’s windows partly open, said Capt. Ralph Brown of the Jefferson County sheriff’s office. The van was apparently parked in the driveway, Brown said.

She left them in the van about 1 a.m. Monday and went inside the home to sleep. She told police that, three hours later, she went outside to check on the dogs. They were fine, she told police. Then, about 6:30 a.m., all eight dogs were in distress. She found five of the dogs breathing, but not responsive. The other three were clearly in distress, but could at least raise their heads.

She tried reviving the dogs, by hosing them down, then took them to a veterinarian in House Springs. Only one of the eight survived.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of handlers allowing dogs in their custody to die in this fashion, either. Every summer brings stories of dogs left in cars at shows who have succumbed to heat stroke. If we can’t get pet professionals to believe that there’s never a safe way to leave dogs in parked vehicles, what hope do we have in convincing the public?

Just like a pet owner should choose to leave their dogs at home in the summer when they run out to do errands, those of us who show dogs have to weigh the risks in attending outdoor shows. If it’s too hot, and we don’t have someplace 100% safe and cool to house our dogs, then we need to just skip that show. What points can possibly be worth the death of our dogs?

Pet Connection has an excellent article on the dangers of heat stroke, and how to deal with it if it does happen to your pet.

14 replies
  1. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    This is all over my akita boards. What a horrible thing and what a horrific way to die….absolutely no excuses for this none!! In the article I read it said she had come home from a show about 1am and was too tired to move all the dogs to the garage.

    On a different note went to see the new Transformers movie yesterday (Rumble is named after one) and there is a Frenchie in it, his name is Frankie.

    Hope all the pups and Mom’s are doing well, Tula must be ready soon……

  2. frogdogz
    frogdogz says:

    In the article I read it said she had come home from a show about 1am and was too tired to move all the dogs to the garage.

    That makes more sense than moving them from the van to the garage and then back to the van. I hate this kind of senselessness. I can smell the PETA press releases as I type this.

    Another movie with a Frenchie in it? I’m never going to get the list on FrenchBulldogZ caught up at this rate!

    Tula is due this weekend, Dog help me…

  3. Dawn
    Dawn says:

    So, so sad. I can’t even imagine the suffering they had to go through.I guess this just confirms to me why my dog traveled with me to every show. If I couldn’t go the dog didn’t go. God rest their little souls.

  4. Jenniferj
    Jenniferj says:

    Confinement+heat kills. Yes, dogs can and do die when left outside in the heat but they die a hell of a lot faster in a crate where they cannot escape their own warm air.

    It’s interesting, we commonly get in the triple digits here, but the bulldogs do OK outside to play even when it’s very IF they have access to a wading pool, shade and even a tiny little breeze plus the ability to move around.

    Don’t get me wrong, I keep a hawk eye on everyone and they spend most of the heat of the day indoors but I like them to acclimate to late morning temperatures and be accustomed to coping with some heat

  5. Lori
    Lori says:

    Please forgive me for asking this, because it might seem stupid and obvious to you. Kasey’s crate is in the trunk of my Subaru Forester. Is it dangerous to have him crated in there with the trunk all the way open?

    I go to an informal Rally-O training session on Sundays and Fridays and we have a potluck after. It’s been very cool so far, but most people have been leaving their dogs crated in their car with their trunk open for maybe 45 minutes while we eat. As we get warmer should I skip the potluck?

    • frogdogz
      frogdogz says:

      Lori, I can’t really answer that for you.

      Here’s my suggestion. One day, when you have the time, leave the back open, and pop a thermometer in the crate. Check the temperature – if it’s high, then it will be high for Kasey.

      At the very least, a cool coat and a crate fan, along with a reflective blanket, are the way to go.

  6. Jenniferj
    Jenniferj says:

    I had a fuel pump explode, in August, on I-% in Oregon. 103 farenheit. Four bulldogs.

    I Usually try to carry about 3 gallons of water per dog. First thing I did was soak all four to the skin, and soaked their towels too. Left the back and all windows of the van open to maximize airflow and turned on the crate fans.

    A wet to the skin dog can stay out of danger with minimal shade and just a little air flow. Spritzing with water will not do it. Wet, soaked wet, to the skin everywhere will cool with evaporation.

    I was towed almost 70 miles, the dogs had to stay in the van, but wet and with the windows down they did fine. We stopped to soak them again at a gas station about halfway as the heat and wind were drying them out.

    We were, none of us, happy but survived and got back on the road in a rental.

    Other tricks for dogs in true distress include cold water enemas, and rubbing alcohol applied to the belly and pads evaporates quickly to cool. For a dog who has panted into respiratory distress, injectable fast acting steroids can help.

    The most heartbreaking call about heat stroke I have had was from a distraught owner who had taken their bully to the beach, the dog had overheated and he carried the dog back to the car but by the time they got to the vet she was gone. His panic was so great that it had not occurred to him to take her into the surf to wet her and cool her down.

  7. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    That’s one of the worst things i’ve heard.
    7 dogs?!
    I hope she never works as a handler again

  8. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    I just purchased a cooling bandana for Rumble. It has polymer (I think) beads in it. You soak it in cold water and then put it in the fridge. Let in air dry and apparently stays cool for hours.

  9. Lori
    Lori says:

    Thanks!I’ll test it out.

    I saw a collar the other day that was hollow and came with a long flexible ice pack to slide in it. I thought “cool this goes on my want-but-don’t-need list,” but then I turned it over and read the directions, the top one being “for indoor use only.” WHAT???

    • frogdogz
      frogdogz says:

      I’ll bet is says that so that people don’t leave their dogs outside unattended wearing it.

      There are lots of cool coats on the market. You can make your own, too, using shammy material and some tape ties or velcro. I have also seen them made with simple hand towels.

  10. Irene
    Irene says:

    Use kid’s window shades, the kind that change color if getting too hot. Also try Cool Pads, they are the greatest invention for travelling with dogs. They will keep dogs cool for 4-6 hours in high temperatures.

  11. Ann Ingersoll
    Ann Ingersoll says:

    …While at Fred Meyer I reported 2 people for leaving their dogs in the car…89 in Monroe at 2pm….I was there a total of 20 minutes so the inside of the vehicles had to be 120 or better! One lady told me to mind my own biz…? really I called the cops on you since you are too stupid to know how to conduct your biz…the others were so worried…they stood and argued with me for 5 more min before opening the car…People at the risk of losing friends…DON’T LEAVE YOUR PETS IN THE CAR…BETTER YET LEAVE THEM AT HOME IN THE SUMMER…it takes less then 10 to turn your vehicle into a brain scrambling toaster oven..
    And I am recruiting people nationwide to start reporting all that I catch!

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