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How and Why Are Puppies Affected When Left in a Car?

How and Why Are Puppies Affected When Left in a Car?

There are so many terrible stories about dogs being left in hot cars, only to die before the return of their unsuspecting owners. Tragically, there have been numerous cases where the victims were puppies. No dog should be left in a car alone regardless of age, but puppies are one high risk category that is even more susceptible to the dangers of rising temperatures.

At first they start to pant and dribble excessively, in an attempt to cool down. However, the air inside a car does not circulate well, even with a window open, so the dog takes in air that is too warm for them to be able to cool themselves down. Panting too much also evaporates moisture, leaving the dog dehydrated. As blood vessels dilate to allow more heat to escape the body, the heart has to work harder to supply more blood to them. Cells work best at a certain temperature, and when that is exceeded the cells begin to break down and die as they cease to function normally. Blood pressure drops and the organs suffer in several ways. Clots begin to form on the kidneys and brain, and these vital organs plus others such as the liver, intestine and more experience thermal damage, causing vomiting and severe bloody diarrhoea. The brain also begins to swell as clots form on it. Once the body reaches 42.8 degrees Celsius it is already too late as the dog can slip into a coma, suffer from seizures, irreversible brain damage and death.

Puppies are especially vulnerable in these situations. They are not developed enough to be able to regulate their body temperature as well as an adult dog can, so they will succumb to the effects of heat more quickly. A puppy’s excitable nature and boundless amounts of energy make them likely to move around more than an adult dog inside a car, especially if they are interested in what is happening outside. This more active they are, the warmer they will become.

Leaving a dog in a car could have deadly consequences. You never know how long it could be before you return, even if you think you will only take a couple of minutes. The temperature inside a car can rise rapidly. If it is 21 degrees Celsius outside, the inside of the car can rise to 32 degrees Celsius within 10 minutes. Any delay puts your dog’s life in grave danger.

If you think there is a chance you may have to leave your dog in the car at all whilst taking them out, it is best for them to stay at home where you know they will be safe. Leaving a dog in a hot car is classed as neglect and cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and you could be fined and prosecuted. It isn’t worth losing your dog over, so think before you take them out in the car with you.


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Hello, fellow animal lovers! I’m Elena, and I take care of social media for Animal Friends Insurance. I’m here to share the latest on animal welfare, our charity work and pet care. I foster and adopt rabbits and have a rescue dog called Luna.

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