If you decide to run errands, it’s important that you don’t take your dog anywhere a dog is not allowed. For example, if your dog isn’t allowed inside the grocery store, do not bring him along. It doesn’t matter if you’re inside the store even for a matter of minutes. A dog should never be left alone in a vehicle.
It only takes minutes for a dog in a vehicle to succumb to heatstroke and suffocation. Every year we hear about dogs dying because they were left alone in the car, but people still do it almost daily. A temperature of 60 degrees outside can result in 90 degree temperatures inside a vehicle. On a 78 degree day, a car parked in the shade can get as high as 90 degree temperatures inside, and a car parked in the sun can result in 160 degree temperatures.
‘Cracked’ Windows Don’t Help
Dogs are unable to sweat like humans do. They can only cool down by panting and releasing sweat through the pads on their feet. Even with the windows ‘cracked’, a dog will be breathing overheated air. Within 15 minutes a dog’s body temperature can climb from normal to 102.5 degrees and above. This is a deadly temperature which can damage the nervous and cardiovascular systems, cause brain damage, dehydration and may possibly lead to death.
Help Trapped Pets
There are things you can do to help a pet left alone in a vehicle on a hot day. First, note the car make, model and license plate number (it may be more convenient to take a picture of the license plate with your camera phone). Then go into nearby stores to have the manager page the vehicle owner. While waiting, you can call the police. The police will most likely arrive before animal control can, and also have the authority to enter the vehicle and rescue the dog. In a situation like this, every second counts.
Depending on local law, some cities give citizens the authority to use reasonable force to break the window and rescue the dog. Depending on the condition of the distressed pet, and if you don’t know your local law, it may be best to wait for the police.
Remember the rule: If your dog can’t go inside with you, don’t bring them along. Leaving your dog in a parked car may be a deadly mistake. Fortunately, it’s completely preventable.
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By Sarah Zumhofe