Travelling with Dogs: Hot Days, Cool Dogs
Most of you will have heard by now about the new animal welfare regulations that came into force this month (Oct 2018) regarding people who leave dogs in hot cars. People can be now fined up to $300 for leaving their dog in a vehicle, on a hot day.
Dogs, don’t sweat, they rely mostly on their respiratory tract to keep themselves cool. (panting) Dogs such as Bullmastiffs, Pugs, Bulldogs and the like find it even harder. If you haven’t read the article click on the link below:
Many children and dogs die each year from being left alone in vehicles. Unfortunately, these deaths are very preventable.
I think everyone should read this article, I found on Bark Post written by Dr Katy Nelson
So if it is a very hot day it would be a good idea to leave your dog at home, with plenty of water and shade.
If you need or have to take your dog with you and depending on what travel set up you have, (not everyone has the same) I personally have a crate in the back of my ute. Holly has her bed, blanket and full water bowl in there and the side windows are open. If I have to leave her in my vehicle, I switch on the portable fan and depending where I am parked and how long I am going to be, I throw a reflective cover (sun shade) over the ute canopy and attach it, with tie downs.
Here are a few things you can do, to keep your dog cool.
- Take plenty of water with you, a bowl or bottle, whatever your dog likes to drink out of. Along with a couple of towels (microfiber are good but any towel will do)
- Cool mats are also a good option to take with you, there are different sizes available. (also good for humans too)
- Drive with your windows cracked, not all the way down or use your vehicle’s air con.
- Depending where you are travelling to, stop every hour or so and let your dog out for a pit stop and a walk around. Keep an eye on your dog, for signs of distress and over heating, (Heatstroke).
- If you have to leave your dog alone in your vehicle, park somewhere in the shade if no shade is available, here some options for keeping your dog cool in your vehicle, whether in the shade or not.
- 1. Portable fan, there are a variety of battery/rechargeable fans available. You may have to train your dog to get used to the fan. (with the windows cracked open it will help with air flow as well).
- 2. Keep the windows cracked but not enough so your dog can try and jump out. Also remember there are a lot of idiots out there, who have no sense and when they see a dog and may try to put their hand through the window, to pat your dog. Its a Dog bite waiting to happen. Some may think, “too bad if they get bitten, its their fault,” which it is but think about your dog.
- 3. Put the cool mat on the seat if you have one or a damp towel will do fine. Not a great idea, if your dog is a chewer. A bit of training may be need, here as well.
- 4. Leave some water, not too much, again training maybe needed to get your dog used to having water, on tap. There are a variety of bottles available you can teach your dog to drink from. There are also a lot of car storage accessories, drink holders and the like that can be modified, for this use also.
- 5. Sun shades, many of us put our sun shades on the inside of the vehicle and while they may reduce the temperature slightly and keep the dash from getting too hot. They don’t reduce the temperature enough, when placed on the inside of a vehicles windscreen. It is better to place the sun shades on the outside of the windscreen as they will reflect the sun and heat away, before it hits the screen.
- 6. Now you can go one step further and put an reflective tarp or aluminet over the roof of your vehicle. Sun shades shouldn’t be pulled and attached too tightly because there needs to be, some air flow.
- If you are worried someone may steal your sun shades, you can always go the cheap DIY route, grab 3-4 windscreen shades and duct tape them together, to make one large sun shade, then tie them down with bungy cords or the like.
Lastly, keep all of your gear for your dog, permanently in your vehicle, if you use some water, fill the container up, if you need to recharge or replace batteries, do so then put them back in your vehicle. By doing this, you will not forget anything, when you go on your next trip.