Most people know that it is dangerous to leave your dog in the car in hot weather, but leaving him in the car in cold weather is a little ambiguous. Leaving your dog in the car in cold weather may not be as risky as leaving him in warmer weather, but it can still be dangerous. Here are some reasons why:
1. Refrigerator on Wheels
Just like your car can act as an oven in the summer, it can act as a fridge in the winter locking in the cold temperatures. If you leave your dog in the car on cold days, he can get hypothermia. Just like in the summer, your dog can suffocate in the car no matter what the temperature is. And if you leave water in your car for you dog when he gets thirsty, just think about if the water freezes in the winter. Your dog will be cold, suffocated, and have nothing to drink. In the worst case, if left in the car in the winter or in cold weather, your dog can actually freeze to death.
2. Cold Toleration/Body Regulation
Just like people, dogs can tolerate cold temperatures differently. Generally, dogs with longer hair can endure colder weather than dogs with short hair. If your dog doesn’t usually lounge around in the snow or outside in the cold, leaving him in the cold car is not any better. The health of your dog can make a difference too. Dogs with diabetes or heart/kidney diseases have a harder time regulating their body temperatures and therefore things could go wrong when left in extreme cold.
3. Bundle Up
If there is no way to leave your dog at home and you will only be gone for a little while, you can take some precautions to help your dog stay safe in the car. Bring some blankets to lie down in the car so your dog can burrow down and stay warm and leave your windows cracked to avoided suffocation. You can also look into getting or making an insulated kennel cover that will allow your dog to stay warm, and water to stay liquid while you run to do your errand.
4. Let Fido Stay Home
When you are leaving the house during the winter or extreme cold temperatures, think about your pup and remember the best thing for him is to stay in the comfort of your home. Leaving your dog home during the winter and not keeping him in the car will avoid hypothermia, suffocations, and freezing and will allow him to be able to get up and run around a little. Err on the side of safety and do not leave your dog in your car in the cold.
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