Among the many summer season safety tips, one that pet owners are reminded of every year is to not leave dogs inside a parked car — even with the widows cracked.
Though this might sound like common sense, it’s still something some pet owners do, thinking errands might only take a few minutes. But veterinarian Ernie Ward put himself in the pet’s position to demonstrate just how hot it can get inside a vehicle in a short period of time.
Getting into a light-colored SUV with all four windows cracked, it is about 94 degrees F at the start. Five minutes later, the temperature is near 100 degrees.
“It is unbelievably hot in here,” Ward said at this point. “It is stifling in here.”
“Even with all four windows cracked, there is no breeze at all. It is entirely still in here. It’s oppressive,” he said at 10 minutes where it had reached about 106 degrees.
By 15 minutes, the internal temperature was at 110 degrees. Ward said a small or older dog would be at serious trouble at this point.
“The only thought that’s going through my head right now is I want out of the car,” Ward said, wiping his brow at the 25-minute mark. “Everything in my body is saying ‘get out, get out, get out.’”
Ward is visible sweating through his blue scrubs and notes that a dog, unlike humans, can’t perspire in an effort to cool off.
At the end of his 30-minute experiment, the temperature in the car was about 115 to 116 degrees.
“The whole point of this exercise was really to see what it feels like. What would it feel like to a dog to be stuck in a car, you know? You’re helpless. You have no control over what’s happening. You don’t understand what’s happening. You just know your body is getting so overheated you could be in real danger,” Ward said.
If you think that this was just a very hot day, USA Today reported a couple years ago that on a sunny, 78 degree day, the internal temperature of a parked car with cracked windows was up to 110 degrees in 30 minutes.
Ward said people can make excuses that they would only be gone a few minutes, but he included that “those excuses are meaningless less you have sat in that car during that same time.”
Watch Ward’s experiment:
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