6 minutes: this is the time a dog can survive in the heat

Whether in Europe or North America, a heat wave has set in. And even if for some, heat rhymes with beach and cocktails for our friends the canidae it is often much less playful. Indeed, we read more and more articles about dogs saved in-extremis from the furnace of the vehicle of their maitre.

However, these stories do not always end in a positive way. Thus in Alaska, Alabama and New York, a pitbull and three rottweilers died from excessive exposure to heat. Many prevention campaigns are implemented by protection associations animatedin particular with the slogan: “it only takes 6 minutes”.

Despite this, people continue to leave their dog in their car, in the heat. Between 2009 and 2018 the RSPCA (British Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) identified in Wales and England nearly 65,000 incidents due to the exposure of a dog to too much heat. In just one week (between June 25 and the 1isJuly 2018) the association received 1123 calls to report excessive exposure of a dog in the heat. In 90% of cases, these reports take place in the passenger compartment of a vehicle.

It can be assumed that this negligence is due to poor knowledge of the body and the health of the dog. Indeed, if a dog temperature reaches 41°C, he risks a heart attack with only a 50% chance of surviving it. Some races are even more exposed to this phenomenon than others, especially large dogs and those with a small face like the boxers or bulldogs. What you need to know is that it doesn’t need extreme heat for this to happen. A temperature of 22°C outside can easily make the temperature inside your car reach 47°C in an hour.

When a dog begins to overheat, it will cool its body by increasing its heart rate, opening its skin capillaries or through the mucous membranes of its mouth and nose. However, unlike humans dogs cannot sweat and as their body temperature rises, their bodily functions deteriorate. The dogs then enter a vicious circle where their temperature increases without their body being able to do its job. The more their temperature increases, the more their heart rate races, the heart no longer does its job, the other organs are no longer supplied with blood and they begin to fail.

When the temperature of the dog reaches 44°C, blood circulation will be almost non-existent, which will cause kidney failure, lack of oxygen in the brain and internal bleeding. And even if you manage to save him at that time, he will have suffered irreversible brain damage, which can lead to a change in personality and loss of sensory and cognitive perceptions.

A heatstroke in a dog can be caused by staying in a hot place for too long, but also by exercising too intensively with too high a temperature. Thus, it is important that during heat waves you keep your dog in a cool, ventilated place with water available.

Avoid taking out your dog at the hottest hours, which will also prevent him from burning his pads walking on hot asphalt (we remind you that if you cannot touch the ground with your hand, it is too hot for your dog can walk there). If you notice signs of overheating in your dog (panting, heavy breathing, licking his sides…), cover his back with a wet towel. If you think he is suffering from heat stroke call a veterinary emergency. Finally if you see a dog lock in a car don’t hesitate to call the police and save a life, because don’t forget it only takes six minutes…