How hot is too hot for a dog left in a car?

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In general, most dogs will do okay in temperatures up to about 90 degrees if they have plenty of water, air circulation and shade; however, dogs have a higher body temperature than humans and less ability to cool down.

Humans are covered with sweat glands but dogs only produce sweat on areas not covered with fur, unlike humans who sweat almost everywhere. A dog that is overheated can only regulate their body temperature through panting, which isn’t terribly effective in hot temperatures.

“How hot is too hot for a dog in a car?” The simple answer: it is always best to leave your furry friends at home on warm days. It doesn’t have to be that warm outside for a car to become dangerously hot inside.

When the outside temperature is 70 degrees, a car can heat up to 89 degrees in just 10 minutes and to 104 degrees in 30 minutes. At 80 degrees outside, a car can heat up to 99 degrees in 10 minutes and 114 degrees in 30 minutes. According to the Humane Society, rolling down the windows has shown to have little effect on the temperature inside a car.

High temperatures can cause irreparable organ damage and even death. A dog’s age and health can be a factor in how well it can handle extreme temperatures.

Is there a standard recommended temperature that the house should be set at during the summer season? Dogs have ways of dealing with warm (think panting) and cold (think fur) temperatures than humans do. The Alliance to Save Energy recommends pet owners set the thermostat to 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter, but check with your vet to see what temperature range is best for your particular breed.

Most dogs begin to show signs of overheating when the air temperature is between 81 and 85 degrees. This is probably why most airlines won’t ship dogs above that temperature.

Heat Stroke is not uncommon in warmer months, and although you may associate it with pets left in hot cars, the truth is that heat stroke can occur even in your own backyard.

Brachycephalic dogs, those with short snouts like Pugs and Boston Terriers, are particularly at risk for heat stroke because they don’t cool air as efficiently when they breathe as their long nosed cousins.

On really warm days, put ice cubes in the water bowl. Place a cooling mat on the ground or a wet towel so they can lay on it to cool off. Lastly, a small plastic wading pool is very welcomed during the hot summer months.

When it comes to our four-legged friends, please consider this: if you are hot and uncomfortable, they are too.

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Kellie Welty