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.

The stupid train keeps on rolling…

Nothing really to add to this. It speaks for itself, and I’m too depressed about the fact that these just seem to keep coming and coming and coming…

From the Eagle Tribune:

Dog left in sun dies, another nearly perishes

By Mark E. Vogler
Staff Writer

LAWRENCE — Police say a 21/2-year-old French bulldog died on a sun-baked balcony and another dog nearly perished because the pets’ owner left them there all day without food or water.

Ryan Colon, 21, of 20 Knox St., was arrested yesterday on animal cruelty charges in a case that appalled the police and firefighters involved in efforts to rescue the dogs after a concerned neighbor called the police.

“This is one of the worst cases of neglect or cruelty of an animal that I’ve seen in my whole career — almost 40 years of police work,” Lawrence police Chief John Romero said.

“Dehydration is a terrible way for an animal to die. It’s amazing that people could do that to any living being. The dogs weren’t beaten but were abused in the way they were left in conditions that killed one and almost killed the second,” the chief said.

The dead dog named Lola had an internal temperature of 108 degrees, according to a veterinarian at the Andover Animal Hospital who examined the corpse. The probable cause of death was listed as hyperthermia or heat exhaustion. The second dog was treated at Pleasant Valley Animal Hospital, where its internal body temperature was measured at 104 degrees.

Colon could face up to five years in state prison if convicted. He was due to be arraigned in Lawrence District Court today. He told Officer Kevin Schiavone that he had put the dogs on the balcony of his apartment at 2 a.m. before leaving for work on Wednesday.

Oh, and let’s not forget the part where he was breeding these dogs. Oh, of course he was. If we didn’t have idiots like this, where would the next generation of baked and broiled dogs come from? But, hey – just one litter, according to his brother:

This story is absolute Bull! My brother was good to his dogs he took very good care of them. The story mentions that they were outside since 2 am thats crap. And it says that he has had multiple litters with these dogs he has only had one litter.


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

It's time to watch out for heatstroke!

Warm weather is here, and already the stories of French Bulldogs almost dying from heatstroke are coming in.

On French Bulldog Z, a reader writes in surprised that her Frenchie can’t walk a mile in 80 weather without almost passing out.

I have a 6 month old, neutered, male French bulldog. I love to take walks and Taz is very high energy so along with many games of fetch in the backyard, I try to take Taz for a walk everyday.
Today is about 80 degrees out. I would say we walked about 1 mile when Taz was panting and lay down in the grass flat on his belly refusing to walk anymore even when bribed with treats. I waited for him to relax a bit but he still would not walked and looked as though he might be in distress (breathing very heavily) and finally had to call someone to drive us home after trying to carry him some of the way back.
My question is how far can a Frenchie walk?
I know that they do not like very long walks or very hot days but “very long” and “very hot” means different things to different people. I thought exercise is good for all dogs. A 2 mile walk in 80 degree weather seems like it should be ok for a dog.

What signs should I look for to know that Taz has had enough because panting is normal right?

Dr. Lori writes –

Oh dear – A frenchie is not meant to walk 2 miles in 80 degrees!!! Heck, they hardly want to walk around the block in 60 degree weather! It sounds to me like you were VERY lucky that you did lose your Taz to heat exhaustion today!

I personally only allow my dogs out for short periods on such hot days and never encourage any exercise if teh weather is over 70 degrees. There have been instances of frenchies overheating and dying in much cooler temperatures.

Read the rest here.

In the San Mateo Times, columnist Mary Hanna describes how her little Frenchie went from playing happily to vomiting and glassy eyed in almost no time flat –

We were at the dog park in Foster City, an open and windy spot that was full of Shih Tzus, Pomeranians and other adorable fluffballs and their parents. Corky was her usual sociable self, but had trouble engaging any playmates in a game of tag


When the chill started to turn to frost, we decided to go home. We put Corky on her leash and walked toward the car. She was breathing hard and panting, as she always does after a play session. We put her in her crate in the back seat and started home. After a half-mile or so, I knew something was wrong. She was “digging” in her crate and her breathing was ragged

When we squealed into the clinic parking lot, Keeper jumped out and ran to the door, Corky in his arms. They were ready for her. We filled out some paperwork (and by “we” I mean he did — I was crying in the bathroom) and waited for news.

The technician came out within minutes and told us that they had started an IV, had hosed her down (her temperature was elevated) and had put her in an oxygen chamber. They were working to calm her down and stabilize her breathing.

Later, when she was breathing more regularly, Dr. Thelan came and talked to us. She had heat stroke, he said. She was better, but not out of the woods. There was a danger of going into shock and bleeding out. That condition was rare, but always fatal.

Read the rest here

On the French Bulldog L mailing list, a French Bulldog handler and breeder with years of experience is shocked when her friend’s dog goes down from heatstroke at an outdoor show, in spite of all their warm weather precautions and preparations.

I watched, as my friend’s beautiful Frenchie boy almost lost his life to this horrific heat wave we’ve been having here in NY. We had just finished showing. Thank God it was still early morning, but I think that was our false sense of security. We were walking back to our cars, laughing, joking when all of a sudden this poor boy vomits, then falls over not breathing.

Thanks to quick thinking handlers nearby, they had a bucke of ice water and started pounding on his chest to revive him. His handler was there and bravely stuck her fingers in his mouth to pull his tongue out of the airway. Unfortunately, because this boy was seizing as well, she was bitten pretty severely on one of her fingers. I don’t know as of this moment how she is. However, Whatever they did, it worked.

The show vet showed up and they continued working on him until his temp came back down. It was THE scariest thing that has ever happened at a show for me. The show committee crew did an outstanding job coming to our rescue with golf carts and people to help. This boy was stabilized, went to his vet and is resting comfortably now at home.

We are not stupid owners. We had cool coats, we had coolers with spray bottles, ice water, the works. It happened SO fast and he gave no outward warning that he was having trouble. I learned the hard way what to always have on hand in my tack box. Nutra Cal and lemon juice. I stopped by and got some on my way home.

You can read the entire post here, if you are a list member (and if you’re not one, I highly recommend you join).

My personal experience with heat stroke came years ago, with our Bulldog, Daisy. It was a muggy and overcast day, and the weather didn’t seem that warm to me. I was washing the kitchen floor, and decided to put Daisy and the other dogs outside until it dried. Less than five minutes later, I saw she was panting uncontrollably, and knew she had heat exhaustion.

I put her in the tub, and ran cool (not cold!) water over her, while letting the tub fill. I payed special attention to anywhere blood flows, including the stomach and genital area. I also put cool towels on her head and across the back of her neck. I did not let her drink any water, or try to force any on her. Next, I used a small (1/2 teaspoon) squeeze of lemon juice to cut the phlegm in her throat.

Since she was still panting heavily, I administerd a cool water enema, which helps to cool the body temperature from the inside out.

When her breathing calmed, I gave her a weight appropriate dose of children’s benadryl, to reduce the swelling in her throat. At this time, I allowed her a few sips of cool water.

Since I know have more knowledge on this sort of trauma can lead to shock, I’d now administer a small amount of nutracal to help prevent this once the dog was calm and breathing fairly easy.

We have an info sheet on heat exhaustion and heat stroke on French Bulldog Z, and suggest that all dog owners – and flat faced, brachycephalic breed owners in particular – prepare themselves to deal with heat stroke in their pets.

You must realize that ambient air temperature is not the only factor to consider when deciding it’s it hot enough for your French Bulldog to be at risk. Think about walking across sand, or pavement, in the cool of the evening after a hot day, and how hot those surfaces remain. Your dog, being close to the ground, is absorbing all of that ground heat. Remeber that dogs do not sweat, and can only cool themselves by panting, which is made more difficult in humid weather, or when they are a flat faced breed with a shorter airway system.

In short, never, ever assume that just because you think it isn’t ‘too hot’, your dog will agree. Your dog’s life depends on your being careful, and on your being prepared to deal with heat stroke if it happens.

Owners of flat faced breeds in particular should carry an emergency preparation kit with them wherever they go –

  • bottle of distilled water
  • disposable enema kit (ask your veterinarian for instructions and fill amounts – we used about 400 ccs on a 55 lb Bulldog)
  • cool down coat
  • cool down cloth
  • towels
  • squeeze bottle of lemon juice
  • children’s Benadryl (the pre measured spoons are perfect to pack)
  • nutracal
  • phone number of 24 hour emergency vet
  • rectal thermometer
  • card with instructions for dealing with heat stroke

Here are the warning signs of heat stroke –

  • intense, rapid, rythmic panting (some breeders call it ‘freight train’ panting)
  • bright red colors inside ears
  • wide eyes
  • salivating
  • staggering and weakness
  • Advanced heat stroke victims will collapse and become unconscious
  • pale and dry gums
  • if heat stroke is suspected and you can take the animal’s temperature rectally, any temperature above 106 degrees is dangerous

If you’re going someplace in warm weather where you can’t carry this kit, you need to ask yourself – is it really worth it? Can I get my dog from here to a vet in time to save their lives? Am I completely confident it is not too hot for heat stroke to over take my dog?

If you even suspect the weather may be warm enough to be a risk to your dog, put them in a cool coat. By the way, those handy with a sewing machine can make cheap, easy cooler coats with just a terry cloth towel, some banding material, and velcro.

Finally, and above all, never, ever, ever leave your dog in a parked car when the weather is warm. Temperatures in a parked car can soar to life threatening on even mild days, and even if all the windows are opened. Do not risk it.