You may not think a short haired dog would be at much risk if left alone in a hot car, yet this is not the case at all. All dogs regardless of age, size, breed and coat length can die in these circumstances, and it doesn’t take very long for their condition to deteriorate. If it is 21 degrees Celsius outside, within 10 minutes the temperature inside a car can rise to 32 degrees Celsius, putting dogs in an extremely vulnerable situation.
Although long haired dogs are more likely to overheat at a quicker rate, those with short hair are still susceptible. They may have less hair to trap heat, but this also means they are unable to retain a lot of air for cooling down. They also don’t have as much protection against the sun’s rays as long haired dogs do, so if they are exposed to sunlight in the car they can get sunburnt.
What happens to dogs that are left in hot cars may surprise you. Not only can they die a horrific death, they have to endure a lot of suffering beforehand. They begin to pant and dribble excessively, and the blood vessels dilate so that as much heat as possible can be released from the body. The heart works harder so more blood can be supplied to the dilated vessels, and then the blood pressure drops. Since cells can’t function normally if they exceed a certain temperature, the vital organs including kidneys, intestine, liver and stomach experience thermal damage, the symptoms of which are vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. Blood clots also form on the brain, and it swells. Once the temperature rises above 42.8 degrees Celsius inside a car, a dog can slip into a coma, suffer from irreversible brain damage, experience seizures, and ultimately die.
Under no circumstances should you ever leave your dog in a car. If you know when you are going out that you are likely to leave your dog unattended, even for just a couple of minutes, it is best for them to remain at home where you know they will be safe and cool indoors. You never know what might prevent you from getting back to your car quickly, but you should never take the risk. Leaving a dog in a car is classed as abuse and neglect under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and you can face a fine and prosecution.