I was over in Naples visiting one of my Dog Guard Out of Sight Fence clients and her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Toby. Toby had previously had the annoying habit of running onto the golf course and trying to steal the golf balls as they landed on the green. After we installed the out of sight dog fence, Toby was done with this issue and he politely watched the game from the comfort of his back yard.
Well, as I was leaving Toby’s, I stopped by a McDonald’s for a Coke when I saw a dog inside a parked car in the parking lot. I looked around and didn’t see his owner and was about to try and open the car door (I know that isn’t the best idea, but it was hot!) when the owner came out with her Big Mac and Iced Tea. I didn’t feel like making a big stink that day, and since the dog was about to get a big push of air conditioned air, I just walked away. Even though I walked away from that situation and it turned out OK, this is a situation that does not turn out well for many of our pets. There are no clear statistics regarding dogs being hurt or killed due to summer heat because most people aren’t going to go to their vet with a dead dog and say “I killed my dog because I left him in the car for three hours while I went to see a movie”. But, to be sure, this happens more than we think.
There are two subjects that I would like to discuss about dogs and summer heat. First, I would like to discuss leaving dogs in cars. We are busy and we are out and about with our dog in the car. All of a sudden, we remember that we forgot something and need to stop at the market. It won’t take long. I am going to run in, get what I need, and run right out. Ten minutes tops, or maybe just a few minutes longer. Fluffy will be OK!
Here are the facts from studies done in the Southern States during the summer. A “nice day” down here in South Florida is one where it is sunny and 85 degrees. This is great for us and we feel fine. This is not the case for Fluffy in the enclosed car. When it is 85 degrees outside, the temperature in the car will rise to 90 degrees in five minutes. In ten minutes the inside of the car will be 100 degrees. After thirty minutes (Oh, I need just one or two more things down the other isle. Look, there are six people ahead of me in the checkout line!); the temperature inside the car will be over 120 degrees.
The only way that dogs can dissipate heat is through their panting (we sweat). As they pant, the moisture on their tongue interacts with the air and cools them off. This only works if the air temperature is lower than their body temperature. Dogs have a normal body temperature between 99 and 103 degrees. This means that they will start to dangerously heat up after about twelve to fifteen minutes in the car. Dogs experience heat stroke at 109 degrees. You do the math.
Let me move on to the second thing that we unknowingly do to our pets during the summer. We love to walk our dogs and feel that it is important to do so. If we work and want to walk them more than just first thing in the morning and at night, we have to rush home at lunch or at an afternoon break.
We always find in kind of funny that Fluffy doesn’t like the afternoon walk as much as the others and is often pulling on the leash or not wanting to go out at all. Heat and pain are the culprits with Fluffy.
Normally, when we walk, it is down the sidewalk or the street. These are the public areas that have been designated for pedestrians and are normally clear of obstacles. The problem with these areas is that they become very hot as the day continues. On a normal summer day in South Florida, the temperature of a cement sidewalk will be over 115 degrees from noon until about 5 PM. The temperature of blacktop (the street) will be above 120 degrees between noon and 7 PM. During the mid afternoon, the street will heat up to over 140 degrees.
We wear shoes or sandals when we walk our dogs and never experience the same heat that they do on the skin of their paws. Dogs begin to feel noticeable, high pain when they walk on anything over 120 degrees. They will experience burns, scaring, and permanent damage to their paws when they walk on anything over 140 degrees. Walking on the sidewalk and especially the street with your dog during the summer is just a bad idea.
So, what is the answer? It is really quite simple:
- Don’t leave your dog in the car. End of statement…
- Walk your dog in the morning or evening. If you need to walk him during the day, only walk on grass and walk as much as possible in the shade. Provide plenty of water for hydration.
The summer is always a busy time for all of us and sometimes we just make stupid mistakes. Robin and I just want to try and point out the safety precautions you need to remember when in the car or out and walking your dog. This is just as important as keeping them safely contained with an out of sight perimeter dog fence. You can contact us at Dog Fence Training Help. You can find a lot of great dog training articles at Best Out of Sight Fence Trainers Naples South Florida. We have more training tips at South Florida Dog Training Blog . Don’t forget to visit our Dog Training web site at Home Dog Training South Florida.