Let’s get straight to the point – dogs can get heat stroke and die in hot cars!  Never leave dogs in cars even for a minute.  Even leaving your dog in a car on a mild day, has the potential to be very dangerous. The ambient temperature inside a car can rise rapidly – especially in summer.  Having windows wounded down isn’t adequate: dogs need access to cooler air to help them thermo-regulate.  We list the signs of heat stroke and the steps you can take to help your dog.

RSPCA NSW says tests have shown that the colour of the car, the tint on the windows or even leaving the windows open did not reduce the cabin temperature by a significant amount, nor did parking it in the shade.

Signs of heat stroke in dogs

  • Excessive panting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Thick saliva
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Lethargy
  • Dark tongue
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Muscle spasms
  • Staggering
  • Mental confusion
  • Colour of gums may change

Heat stroke is an emergency and your dog needs to be checked by a veterinarian as soon as you can. Emergency treatment is aimed at bringing the body temperature down at a steady rate.

Steps you can take immediately for heat stroke in dogs

  1. Spray cool water onto your dog’s body and use a fan.
  2. Cool your dog down with wet rags or washcloths around the head
  3. Offer your dog cool water but do not force water into your dog’s mouth
  4. Don’t use ice or ice-cold water as this may cool your dog down too rapidly.

Heat stroke in dogs source

Dr James Crowley, Dogs Life Magazine Issue 136: ‘Heeding heatstroke’ article
RSPCA NSW: Dogs die in hot cars