Summer Safety Tips For Dogs in Cars

Just like humans, dogs have to be protected from the harsh summer sun; especially the light colored dogs or dogs with thin coats, (or the hairless dogs). White ears and noses are very susceptible to sunburn and dogs can also get sunburned on their abdomen and on the insides of their legs.

We often hear about putting together earthquake emergency kits for our home, and emergency kits for our car, but we seldom if ever hear about putting together an emergency kit for our dog(s) in the car.

Summertime holds the greatest danger for dogs in cars. More dogs die as a result of being locked in cars on warm days than by any other means. It may seem obvious that the solution to this problem is to never leave your dog locked in the car. Having said that, sometimes situations arise that are beyond our control.

Rather than simply relying on never being in this predicament, or in any other situation where your dog may overheat, why not take some time to gather up a few items toss them in your trunk in case this unplanned situation should ever occur.

Building a summer smart kit for dog car safety only needs a few items and can be done without much expense.
Essential Items:
•    Water, water water
•    Dish for water
•    Bandana or scarf (This can be soaked and wrapped around your dog's neck to cool him.)
•    Timer (These can be found at the dollar store and will help you to keep track of how long you are gone from your car. It's easy to get distracted, to run into an old friend or be otherwise delayed and not realize how long you've been gone from the car. A matter of minutes can literally save your dog's life. A timer can also be used to limit the amount of time you spend outside in the sun with your dog). As little as 15 minutes in a hot car can cause your dog to have irreparable brain damage or result in death.

•    Sunscreen, your dog's nose is sensitive and can easily get sunburned.
•    Leash and Collar (Sometimes dogs are left in cars because the owner didn't think to bring a leash to use to tie him up outside of a store).

•    A card with your vet contact info, including after-hours emergency contact numbers. If you suspect your dog has heat stroke contact a vet immediately.
Optional Items:
•    Sunshades for the car windows.

Lastly, as responsible dog owners, our duty doesn't end with ensuring only our dog's safety and well-being. If you see a dog in a car on a hot day, take the time to do an assessment of the situation. If an owner has popped into a store, he or she should be back within moments. Take the time to look and see if the dog has water if the window is open to offer the dog some water from your safety kit in the trunk.

Maintain caution as you would when approaching any unknown dog, however, don't let this caution override a potentially fatal situation. If you cannot get water to the dog, continue to monitor, see if you can locate the owner. If the dog is exhibiting signs of distress, take down the make and model of the vehicle and call for help. Remember, only 15 minutes can mean the difference between life and death.

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