During the dog days of summer, leave Fido at homePlease, leave your pet at home if you can’t bring him or her in with you wherever you’re going, and if you see a pet in a parked car during a warm sunny day, go to the nearest store and have the owner paged.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
We all love our pets and often we want to take them everywhere we go. Dogs, particularly, love nothing better than to be invited to jump in the car with their master and go for a ride. And with summer in full swing, the whole family loves to bring Fido along on camping trips, afternoons at the beach and pretty much everywhere they go.
Good intentions will only go so far, however. If you decide to make a stop at the grocery store, the discount store, or even a quick trip into the convenience store, it’s easy to overlook just how devastating those few moments in a hot car can be for your pet.
Whether you’re parking in the shade, just running into the store, or leaving the windows cracked, it is still not OK to leave your pet in a parked car. The temperature inside a car can skyrocket after just a few minutes. Parking in the shade or leaving the windows cracked does very little to alleviate this pressure cooker.
Tripswithpets.com suggests you try turning your car off on a warm, sunny day, crack your windows and sit there. It will only be a few short minutes before it becomes unbearable. Imagine how your helpless pet will feel. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows cracked can reach 102 degrees within only 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. At 110 degrees, pets are in danger of heatstroke. On hot and humid days, the temperature in a car parked in direct sunlight can rise more than 30 degrees per minute, and quickly become lethal.
Even on a relatively cool day, the temperature inside a parked car can quickly spike to life-threatening levels if the sun is out.
Researchers have noted that much like the sun warms a greenhouse in winter, it also warms a parked car on cool days. In both cases, the sun heats up a mass of air trapped under glass. Precautions such as cracking a window or running the air conditioner prior to parking the car were found to be inadequate. And since pets are considerably less efficient at cooling themselves than people are, that presents a major dilemma when they’re left in a hot car.
Dogs who have only hot air to breathe can suffer brain and organ damage after just 15 minutes, particularly extremely young or old pets, or pets with respiratory or other existing health issues.
Law enforcement officers are authorized to remove any animal left in an unattended vehicle that is exhibiting signs of heat stress by using the amount of force necessary to remove the animal, and shall not be liable for any damages reasonably related to the removal. The pet owner may also be charged with animal cruelty.
Please, leave your pet at home if you can’t bring him or her in with you wherever you’re going, and if you see a pet in a parked car during a warm sunny day, go to the nearest store and have the owner paged. Enlist the help of a security guard or call the local police department or animal control office.
The lives of our pets are precious, and they deserve the love and attention they give us in return.