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.

Newsflash: Frenchies + Hot Car = Bad Idea!

Holy smokes, sometimes I despair for the human race, what with all the dumbness out there, just floating around.

How can there be anyone left who doesn’t know that you don’t leave dogs in the car when it’s hot – and especially not French Bulldogs (or any other flat faced breed)!

Heat stroke can kill any dog, fast, but dogs left in cars are at particular risk.

From the HSUS comes this explanation of exponential temerpatures inside of vehicles –

On a warm, sunny day windows collect light, trapping heat inside the vehicle, and pushing the temperature inside to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree Fahrenheit day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within ten minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. At 110 degrees, pets are in danger of heatstroke. On hot and humid days, the temperature in a car parked in direct sunlight can rise more than 30 degrees per minute, and quickly become lethal.

A recent study by the Stanford University School of Medicine showed that temperatures inside cars can rise dramatically even on mild days. With outside temperatures as low as 72 degrees, researchers found that a car’s interior temperature can heat up by an average of 40 degrees within an hour, with 80% of that increase in the first 30 minutes. A cracked window provides little relief from this oven effect. The Stanford researchers found that a cracked window had an insignificant effect on both the rate of heating and the final temperature after an hour.

Imagine the effect, in even mildly hot weather, on breeds like French Bulldogs that have impaired ability to regulate their body temperature. A brachycephalic dog’s inefficient breathing apparatus makes it less efficient at self cooling, all of which is a fancy way of saying “Frenchies, Pugs and Bulldogs can overheat really fast – faster than you’d believe. Faster than a German Shepherd, or any other dog breed”.

You’d think anyone who has even the most vague reading comprehension would have gotten the message by now that dogs in hot cars is a bad idea, but apparently not.

Here’s the British Columbia owner who had his Frenchie stolen after it was left in a parked car in 85 degree heat –

A Vancouver man is pleading for his dog’s safe return after it went missing from his housekeeper’s car last Sunday in Crescent Beach.

Andrew Knott, who has a real estate office in South Surrey, was away over the weekend, so his housekeeper and her friend took his French bulldog, Churchill, out for a morning walk.

They stopped to get breakfast at a restaurant and left Churchill in the parking lot with the car window partially opened. When they returned about a half hour later, they found the car door open and two-year-old Churchill nowhere in sight.

“I have no children of my own,” Knott told the Peace Arch News. “He’s kind of like a son to me.”

The housekeeper said she reported the dog stolen to Surrey RCMP and left word at the SPCA.

However, Janice Levers, branch manager of the Surrey SPCA, said this week that rather than Churchill being stolen, it could be that someone thought they were rescuing the dog by freeing him from a hot car.

Temperatures in White Rock reached 25.9 C Sunday.

“I certainly would be suspicious,” Levers said of Churchill’s disappearance. “The dog should not have been left in the car on a hot day.”

From the Peace Arch News

I don’t blame the owner in this case. It’s not his fault his housekeeper is a moron – but I don’t really blame the person who liberated the dog, either. I think the car door left wide open was a clear message – “Hey dummy, I took your dog before it died”. Point taken – now let’s just hope the dog makes it home.

Leaving your own dog in a car, however, deserves a special hot corner of hell.

A French bulldog died of heat exhaustion after it was left in a stifling parked car for a half hour outside the Watertown Mall Thursday afternoon, the Watertown Tab & Press reported.

According to the online newspaper, Watertown police were called to the parking lot around 12:42 p.m. and found the unconscious dog inside the car.

The 3-year-old French bulldog was taken to the Watertown Animal Hospital but doctors were unable to save it.

Police are investigating and it’s unknown whether the owner will be cited or charged in the incident.


Not sure if the owner will be charged? What’s not to be sure about?

And.. what the hell do you need at a mall so badly that you’re willing to condemn your dog to one of the most painful deaths I can imagine? Out of scented candles? Big sale at the Gap?

You jerk. You ignorant, stupid, evil, banal, mall shopping, dog killing jerk. I don’t have any sympathy for you, I don’t ‘understand that people make mistakes’, and I hope you’re banned from ever owning another dog.

Better still, I hope they ban you from ever shopping at another mall, since that’s probably the punishment you’d find most painful.

References: Go here to read our article on preventing heat stroke, and on what to do if it happens