Keep your dog cool this summer (opinion) |

Keep your dog cool this summer (opinion)

Niki Congero
Tribune Opinion Columnist
My name is Walter. I am around 7 months old and I am a good dog. I am house trained and would love to go to training classes to learn good manners. I walk nicely on my leash. I am a little shy to start, but will warm up fast if you have a cookie. If you have another dog we should meet first to make sure we get along. Come visit Walter out at The El Dorado County Animal Services, 530-573-7925. For spay-neuter services and other support, call the Lake Tahoe Humane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at 530-542-2857. Are you looking for a kitty? There are a lot of very cute ones at the shelter now, all looking for forever homes.
Courtesy Photo |

Every year, countless dogs die in cars on summer days. Sometimes it’s not even that hot outside. Many times the window is cracked and the car is parked in the shade. The startling truth is that even in seemingly safe conditions the temperature inside your car can soar to life-threatening heights in just 10 minutes — about the time it takes to run into the post office, coffee shop or pet store.

Even on a relatively mild day, your car can turn into an oven with frightening speed.

How long does it take for a car to get hot? If the outside temperature is 70 degrees, within 10 minutes it’s 89 degrees and in just 30 minutes the inside vehicle temperature will reach 104 degrees. These temperatures increase proportionately with the outside temperature increasing; you can safely assume that within 30 minutes the inside temperature of your vehicle will be approximately 34 degrees higher than the outside temperature.

Don’t forget boats! While it’s fun to take Fido out on the lake, provide plenty of water and shade as well. With the reflection of the water and the heat on a nice, summer day, boats can get just hot as the inside of a car.

This is important because dogs don’t sweat. Instead, they depend on panting to take in cool air and regulate their temperature. If they only have hot air to breathe, their temperature increases, putting them at risk of heat stroke. A dog’s normal body temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees. Heat exhaustion happens at 104 degrees and heat stroke occurs at 107 to 109 degrees. Signs of heat stroke are heavy panting, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, bright red tongue and mucus membranes which may turn gray as shock sets in, thick saliva, drooling, vomiting and or diarrhea, unsteadiness and staggering or lethargy.

Sadly by the time signs of heat stroke appear, it can be too late. If you suspect your dog has been exposed to heat that could cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

What can you do to help? Spread the word about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars by sharing this information with friends and family. Most importantly, take action. If you see a dog left in a hot car or stranded on a boat without shade or water, contact the police department or call El Dorado Animal Services at 530-573-7925

Together we can keep our dogs happy and safe this summer.


Join us at The Cork and More for the third annual Wine Tasting for the Lake Tahoe Humane Society on Thursday, May 19, from 7-9 p.m.

If you’re looking for a fun day with your dog, we would also like to invite you to the seventh annual Doggie Day at the beach this Friday, May 20, from 2-4 p.m. at Cove East Beach, off of Venice Drive in the Tahoe Keys (follow path by the marina to the beach). Brought to you by California Tahoe Conservancy and Lake Tahoe Humane Society, it’s a great afternoon of doggie fun and information. The event includes goodies for you and your pup,a best trick contest and costumes are encouraged. Pups must be kept on leashes.


It’s time again to submit your furry family member’s photos to the Lake Tahoe Humane Society’s calendar/card photo contest. Just go to and click on the calendar link, scroll to bottom of the page, fill out form and submit your pic. It a fun way to support Lake Tahoe Humane Society and help them help local animals in need.

Hopeful Henry is a column managed by Niki Congero, executive director of Lake Tahoe Humane Society & S.P.C.A. Submit questions or letters via e-mail to AskHenry@LakeTahoe or by mail to P.O. Box PET South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158. For more information, visit SocietySPCA, or

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