Hot cars are like an oven--you wouldn't put your dog in the oven!

Hot cars are like an oven–you wouldn’t put your dog in the oven!

Parked cars are death traps for dogs

Do you leave your dog alone in the car while you run errands?  If you do, you need to know that you are putting your dog at serious risk of death by heatstroke.  Many pet parents like to carry their dog along for a ride during the summer months but doing so is irresponsible and cruel.  Keep reading to learn more.

It’s important to take the necessary steps to keep your dog cool and safe this summer.   One thing you can and must do is leave your dog at home unless you plan to shop in establishments where your dog will be permitted to gain entrance.   You might think that leaving the window cracked open or even open all the way will safeguard your dog against the dangers of heat stroke but that assumption is completely false. In this instance PETA got it right.  PETA asserts that “Parked cars are deathtraps for dogs: On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes.”  Watch this and see what happens! Remember, it’s much worse for dogs in extreme temperatures!  They do not sweat like humans so they can’t cool off in the same manner.  All they can do is pant and release heat through their paws. Don’t take any chances with your precious cargo; leave your dog at home!

As you shop, you may come across dogs left in parked cars.  What should you do?  Should you intervene?  The answer, in short, is yes – you could be saving a dog’s life.  Follow these steps if you see a dog left in a parked car on a warm day:

  1. Assess the situation. Does the dog appear to be in distress? Is the dog exhibiting signs of heatstroke? Thick saliva, lethargy, excessive panting, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, restlessness and rapid heartbeat are some of the symptoms of heat stroke. If you answered yes, you may be at liberty to remove the dog form the car. In many states, the threat of imminent danger is reason enough for you to gain entry into the car and remove the dog.
  2. Whether or not you answered yes or no to the above question, you need to alert the authorities at once. Call 911 or animal control – calling 911 might be quicker and they will most likely alert animal control as well. Provide the 911 operator with the color, make and model of the car. Describe the status of the dog and express the urgency of the situation.
  3. Also notify the managers on duty at the stores surrounding the parking lot. Ask them to help you locate the owner of the car by making an all call in their store.
  4. If you have removed the dog from the car or the owner comes out, help cool the dog off by bringing it into one of the air conditioned buildings, give the dog water to drink, put cool compresses on the dog’s chest, stomach, groin and paws. You can even submerge him in water if you are at a location that will make that possible or place him in front of a cool fan.
  5. The dog will need to be taken to the veterinarian as soon as possible. If the owner has not been located (or has been arrested) and you are in a position to do so, you can take the dog to the vet or the authorities will have animal control take over the situation.
  6. Don’t leave the scene, until the police have authorized you to do so – especially if you gained entry to the dog owner’s car due to the imminent danger of the dog’s condition.

Please share this information with your friends and family.  We see and hear stories all summer about dogs and children dying in cars from heat stroke.  The word is out but not enough people are getting it.