Sunday, June 29, 2014

Don't Leave ANY Pet in a Hot Car

If you're a member of the online pet community, chances are you see reminders almost daily NOT to leave your dog in a hot car. Seems like common sense for most of us, but truthfully there are so many people out there that still need to be educated.

I see tons of reminders about not leaving dogs, specifically, in hot cars but what about other pets? Cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, etc. can overheat just like dogs. Dogs, in general, are just more commonly taken along for rides in the car and make good travel companions. BUT there are occasions when other pets like cats or exotic pets travel too.


People have to take their pets to the vet, drop them off at pet boarding facilities, and believe it or not many pets other than dogs do accompany their humans for fun outings away from home. So dogs are not the only ones traveling in cars.

Actually, most exotic pets are extremely temperature sensitive and may overheat in a hot car much more quickly than a dog. Yes, I have personally witnessed and helped care for an overheated exotic pet on several occasions. In one particular case, a guinea pig was left in a car for a short amount of time. When said guinea pig arrived at our veterinary clinic he was in extremely poor condition.

In fact, his temperature was so high the thermometer could not read it. The highest temperature our thermometer read was 110 degrees Farenheit. That is the highest I have ever seen any animal's temperature get. It's a very sad story, but poor guinea pig did not make it through.

Photo via Toshihiro Gamo

You also need to be careful when allowing your small exotic pets play outside during the summer because they can overheat so quickly. Last year, we shared some tips on keeping small exotic pets cool and hydrated to prevent them from overheating, which you can read here.

Just remember that ANY animal, whether it be a dog or cat or guinea pig, does not deserve to be left in a scorching hot car. If you can't take them inside with you while you run errands, it is best to just leave them at home or do you errands later.

13 comments:

  1. Since people keep doing this, we need to keep the message out there! Thanks for sharing it!

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  2. Very wise words. We can't believe humans still will do this.

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  3. Yes, this is so important and can never be said enough times (unfortunately). It's also good advice about being careful with smaller pets outside during these warm months.

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  4. This is such a great reminder, because the focus is always on dogs, I guess because they are most likely to be traveling. But any animal might travel and they have to be remembered too. I imagine overheating can happen even quicker with smaller pets.

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    1. Yes it can Jan. They are extremely temperature sensitive and have even less ways to cool themselves than a dog does.

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  5. We totally agree with Jan K. Thank your for the reminder, again and again : don't let any pet (or child !) in a hot car ! Purrs

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  6. Great post! I don't understand why people keep leaving their pets and children in hot cars. Will they ever learn?

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    1. I might be over sympathetic, but accidents do happen. I heard a story of a veterinarian who accidentally left her dogs in the car while she ran into her clinic... it sounds crazy, but I just don't think she meant for them to get hurt. Some people learn the hard way and it really sucks.

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  7. I was shocked how quickly Leo overheated in our rapidly warmed tent when camping at Lake Mead- we never get heat like that in Cascadia! Even though Leo is better equipped at dealing with heat due to being a species native to New Guinea, he reacted to the heat way faster than the dogs or I did! Obviously, parrots should never be left alone in cars (or tents) either! :)

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    1. I didn't write much about birds here because I don't have experience with overheated birds. But they don't do well with extreme temperature changes either. I think it's not that he can't handle it, but more that he wasn't used to it.

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  8. We learned this lesson the hard way when I was about ten. We were moving across the country and left our pet mice in the car while we got lunch. The windows were down, but they still got too hot. Fortunately the dogs were having a picnic with us.

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    1. Aw that's too bad :( Times certainly have changed in that people are starting to learn. Even my 80 year old grandfather would probably still leave his dog in a car. Something I've seen him do in the past.

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