Now that July is upon us we’re going to be focusing on the topic of ‘Pets in Summer’, taking a look at a range of subjects and issues that affect pets and owners during one of the hottest months of the calendar year. An important part of this is pets and travel.
Something that we must discuss from the very off is dogs and cars.
During the summer months dog owners will be using cars to travel around the country, whether it’s on your summer holidays around the gorgeous English countryside, or simply popping to your local shop, it’s more than likely that you’ll have your dog with you in your car.
The first thing to be mindful of if your dog is with you in the car is their positioning. Making sure your dog is safe and secure is paramount; too many people allow their dogs to simply lie down in the front or back seat whilst they are driving. Whilst the chances of being involved in car crash or collision are slim, it is always better to be safe than sorry where your dog’s safety is concerned.
Even if your dog is impeccably behaved when riding in the car, it is still important to make sure that they are secure so that if the car receives a sudden bump or jolt then they will have some kind of protection.
If a dog is left unsecured in a car then it could be injured or even worse; humans have to be secure, so we should make sure that our dogs are too. There are a number of ways you can ensure that your dog is secured yet comfortable. Such measures you can take include harnesses, cages/crates, safety guards and making sure they are in the back of the car.
When taking your dog in the car for their very first few trips try to ensure that you are going to a location that will be fun, such as woodland for a nice walk, so that they learn – via positive reinforcement – to be settled when riding in the car. It can also help to have some of their favourite chew toys to keep their mind active.
When going on longer trips it is essential that you take regular water breaks to keep your dog hydrated; these breaks will also allow your dog to get some fresh air and go to the loo.
Another thing that needs to be looked at is leaving dogs in cars. This is just completely unacceptable and quite frankly, it’s shocking that in this day and age – with every bit of information readily available in seconds via the internet – people are still leaving their dogs to roast.
Unlike humans, dogs cannot sweat when they become too hot; the only way their bodies can attempt to regulate their temperature is by panting excessively or allowing heat out through their paws. So think of any hot situation where there is hardly any air and a dog will experience this tenfold.
Add to this the fact that when the temperature outside is 22°c, the inside of a car can reach 47°c within an hour, and you begin to see the severity of the heat that dogs are subject to when left in a car.
Even if a window is left open for air, this will not stop the excessive overheating that a dog experiences when left in a hot car. When a dog begins to overheat it can cause heatstroke and this is exceptionally dangerous, with a dog’s body temperature rising up to over 40° which in turn can lead to severe brain damage and death.
Being mindful of these potential dangers will ensure that you and your dog make the best use of your car in the safest way possible.