Each year as the weather starts warming up, we hear the same story over and over—a helpless dog left in a burning hot car with their human nowhere to be seen. Despite lawmakers, judges, and news reporters spreading the word about the potentially deadly situation, dogs across the nation are still left in hot cars.
Here’s the problem: The heat in your car can quickly spike, reaching a temperature that puts your pooch at risk of serious illness and even death. It even happens on days we don’t think are too hot.
In the video below, one North Carolina veterinarian set out to show pet parents why they shouldn’t use the excuses: “But I left the windows cracked open” or “I’ll only be a few minutes.”
Dr. Ernie Ward is a famous vet who’s appeared on Animal Planet, Today, Good Morning America, Nightline, NBC Nightly News, and CNN. He recorded a video of himself sitting in a hot car for 30 minutes with the windows cracked. His reaction to the eye-opening experience:
You just know that your body is getting so overheated that you could be in real danger. I mean, this kills and it’s a lousy way to die.
Watch Dr. Ernie Ward’s Reaction
Video Via DrEarnieWard/YouTube
After just 10 minutes inside the hot car, the temperature shot up to 106º. Five minutes later, Ward shows us the thermometer reading 110º. At the end of the 30 minutes, Ward documents the car reached 117º. Again, that’s with all four windows cracked open an inch or two.
Everything in my body is saying ‘ get out, get out, get out.’
This chart from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) gives us an even better look:
Heat Stroke & Heat Exhaustion
It’s important to remember that if it’s too hot for you then it’s definitely too hot for your fur babies. Within just a few minutes of being outside in the extreme heat, dogs start panting pretty heavily. Since panting is the main way a dog cools off (they don’t perspire like we do), heavy panting isn’t something to ignore.