Dogs Die in Hot Cars + they heat up FAST (dog in hot car facts)

Picture the scene:

It's four o'clock in the afternoon, the heat of the sun has really gone, it's hot but no that hot, 27oC (or 80oF).

But how hot does a car get?  How long can you leave your dog in the car before it gets too hot for them?  Well I think the answer and some dog in hot car facts might just surprise you!


Imagine that you've just stopped at the shops.  You're just about to hop out...wait, of course your dog's with you so you need to leave the windows open.  Say all four windows a little crack, maybe a couple of inches.  No one's going to get in and steal the car.

The air-con has only been off for a couple of minutes by the time you leave the car.  It is already 30oC.  Things are only just starting to warm up.

There is a little bit of a gentle breeze.  Your dog might be able to press themselves against the gap in the window.  Don't be fooled though, they just can't feel any cooler air coming into the car to relieve the climbing temperature.  It feels just as hot by the window as it does everywhere else in the car.

3 minutes 30's already 35 degrees.

7 minutes 30 seconds and it's coming up 40 degrees.

Now I'm not the first person to do this experiment and show the experience of a dog trapped in a hot car the first person I'm aware of was Dr. Ernie Ward which was followed by a good friend of mine Dr Dan Forster.  Both of these awesome vets had one goal in mind.  To raise awareness of the risks taken by many owners who leave their dog in the car during the warmer months.

Dogs are still being left in cars.  Dogs are still dying so it's my turn to pick up the baton.  Rather than turn up as a vet though, I'm coming dressed as a Dalmation.  My black spotted fleece onesie, complete with hood, helping to limit how quickly my body can keep itself cool.  Much like your dog.

It's all too easy to think that you will only be quick and nothing bad could happen.  What if the queue in the shop is longer than normal though.  What if you get chatting to a friend you bump into who you haven't seen for a while.  What if you remember another thing you'd planned on getting that you might as well get now seeing as how you're already in town.  Before you know it a 10 minute trip has become 20, 30, 40 minutes and that is simply too long.

40 minutes and you'll arrive back at the car to find your dog dead.

it doesn't need to be that hot outside for the temperature in a parked car to become deadly to a dog

Even 20 minutes could mean they have got so hot no amount of treatment can save them.  It obviously depends on the size of the dog and the temperature in the car but why even take that risk?

Make no mistake, every year dogs are dying after being left in cars.

11 minutes and the temperature keeps on climbing.  It's 44 degrees (thats 111oF).

Just imagine how scary it would be for your dog.  They're getting really hot, their body temperature is starting to climb.  For me, my mouth is starting to go very dry, I'm not feeling fantastic but I know that any moment I can just open this door.  Your dog though doesn't know when you're coming back.  They don't know how long you're going to be.  All they know is that they're starting to get seriously stressed out by this heat.  And remember it doesn't really have to be that hot outside either.

17minutes 30 seconds and the car temperature is up to 46 degrees.

21 minutes in and it's getting fairly unbearable for me.  I've got sweat absolutely pouring off me.  I'm drenched.  This is going to be helping me lose a little bit of heat as it wicks through my clothes and evaporates.  Remember though dogs can't sweat so as hot as I am (even in my ridiculous onesie dog simulation!) it's still nothing to what your dog would be going through.  They would be getting super stressed now.  Their body temperature will be climbing to dangerous levels.


Why is heat stroke or hyperthermia so bad?  Well, once the body temperature climbs past a certain point the organs start shutting down.  The high temperature starts to do damage to the kidneys, the liver and pretty much every body system.  A dog will go into multi organ failure and it can happen very quickly.  Once this process starts it's difficult to get your dog to recover successfully.  You have to aggressively cool them down there are only certain ways that we can do this effectively.  If we just  throw cold water over a hyperthermic dog then that can actually make things worse.  Trapping the heat within the body.  If you cool a dog too long then they develop hypothermia, they get a low body temperature.  They're just a mess.  Their organs are shutting down, all of the normal regulation that the body does is just going haywire.

Even the best treatment, given by the best veterinary team in the world may not be enough to save a hyperthermic dog.

They are literally cooking.

hyperthermia or heat stroke caused by a dog in a hot car can be untreatable and deadly once a dog gets too hot

At around 25 minutes my thermometer has maxed out at 50oC (its over 122oF).

My mouth is dry, I'm feeling light-headed, I'm starting to get a terrible headache.  I'm feeling terrible.  I do however make it to the 30 minute mark and I can tell you it is such a welcome relief to open the door, pull down my hood and feel the cool air on my skin.

I feel terrible.  Please don't try this at home and take my word for it.  Your car will get hot very quickly, it will kill your dog and it won't take long.  If your dog becomes hyperthermic then there is a very good chance they will die no matter what you do.

Please share this post.  It might just help prevent a death.

You also need to think about how to protect your dogs paws from hot pavements in the summer