Cool dogs, hot cars

As much as we may enjoy taking our pet out and about it is important during the long, hot, dog days of summer to remember that a car’s temperature can increase by 19 degrees in a matter of 10 minutes (for example 80 degrees to 99 in just 10 minutes) or up to 40 degrees in one hour according to a study by the Stanford University School of Medicine.  “Automobile temperatures can very quickly rise to dangerous levels; the average temperature increase in a parked car is 40 degrees, and the majority of this increase occurs in the first 15 to 30 minutes,” says Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital.   Be sure to use these tips to beat the heat and keep your pet safe from illness or death after being left in a car.

Leave your dog at home. It’s simple.  Unless your dog is headed to the park, pet shop or vet’s office there is no real reason to take your dog out with you to run errands.

Join (Formerly United Animal Nation) and help save lives by reminding pet owners of the dangers of leaving your pet in the car.  Take the “cool dog” pledge and get five free copies of the flier “It’s Hot!” featuring your perfect pet to share with others.   You can also download the “hot temperature warning sign” and ask businesses that you frequent to place them in their windows or announcement board to remind pet owners of the dangers of long hot summer days and nights.

Consider programming the telephone number to animal rescue organizations in your area as many will offer help.

What to do if you find a dog left in a hot car

The ASPCA recently shared these steps based on an instance where a pet sitter left a dog sitting in a hot parked car.

  1. Try to locate the pet parent.  I would add to write down the make, model and license plate number of the car.  If you are in a mall or other department stores see if security or customer service will make an announcement (after all I have heard announcement for lights being on – why not for a dog in danger).
  2. Call 911.  14 states have enacted a law that makes it illegal to leave a dog in a parked car.  Find out what your State laws are about the safety of pets left in an unattended vehicle.  For some states just leaving the pet in the car is enough to be charged or ticketed, however other states have a number of other rules regarding a pet’s safety.
  3. Remember you can be charged with a crime if you break a car window in order to rescue a dog in danger.  However, the police can.
  4. Educate.  If you are able to locate the pet parent, you may want to share with them the dangers of leaving their dog in a car and how quickly cars heat up.  Pets are in just as much danger as a child.  Simply cracking a window is not enough.  Remind them of how hot it is in the car without the AC running, would they want to be in there for an extended period of time.

Document the rescue if possible using your cell phone camera or video.

Administer first aid to the pet.  If you have been able to remove the dog from the car provide him with first aid.  The best way to lower a dog’s temperature is to move him to the shade, soak him down with cool (not cold) water and if possible take him to a vet for additional care.

Why would or should you get involved? And do people really get involved?  Watch ABC’s “What Would You Do?” Dog Left inside a Car

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply