Jul 12, 2012 2:11 AM by Hope Hanselman, KSBY News
As the temperatures rise outside, they're soaring in your car, creating a deadly environment for pets.
Veterinarians in Atascadero say, typically, they'll see one to two dogs a week come in with heat stroke during the hottest weeks of summer.
So far this year, they haven't seen any. They have a few tips for pet owners to keep it that way.
"That amount of heat actually cooks the body," Matt Aaronias, Veterinarian with Atascadero Pet Clinic said. "It's like putting an anmal in an oven and you're actually cooking the internal organs at that temperature."
In heat like this, running a quick errand can turn deadly.
"Ideally, I probably wouldn't recommend leaving a dog in the car at all," Aaronias said.
Vets say a car's temperature can be about 20 degrees hotter than it is outside, and it doesn't take long to get there.
"You see them with their windows cracked but it's still not enough," Tony Self, of Temecula, said. "They think that it's fine, but it's not."
A dog's internal body temperature is about 102.5 degrees. Heat stroke sets in when it's raised just three degrees.
So, when temperatures reach 120 degrees, a cracked window isn't doing much.
"Eventually, it's just going to reach a point where it's just collapsed," Aaronias said.
And that's where things get serious.
Dogs who suffer heat stroke are most often brought in on gurneys. That is, if they make it in at all.
"Those are the ones that make it here. I don't know how many dogs make it at all or pass away in a backyard or who knows what," Aaronias said.
Pets are also at risk of heat stroke while walking outside in these temperatures.
But, doctors' biggest piece of advice is to never over-cool an animal.Hosing it down too much before taking it to the vet can make it hypothermic.
Signs of over-heating include drooling, panting and red (instead of pink) glands.
If an animal has heat stroke, it will most likely be collapsed on the floor.
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