Most of us have done it at some point in our lives…we run into the store for milk and leave our pet in the car with the window down. We intend on returning soon and figure that Fido will be fine. After all, it’s only for a few minutes…
Did you know that leaving a pet in a car on a warm day can be fatal? The temperature in your car can rise to over 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Pets can suffer brain damage or die of heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Partially open windows don’t allow the heat to disperse quickly enough to keep your pet safe. Every year thousands of pets suffer because they can only cool themselves by panting and sweating through their foot pads. That’s not enough “air-conditioning” to counteract the effect of extreme heat.
Pets may be at risk for heatstroke if they exhibiting some or all of the following signs of distress:
Pets at greatest risk of heatstroke are young pets, elderly pets, overweight pets, pets with shortened muzzles (pugs, boxers, etc.), and those with thick or dark coats.
If a pet shows these symptoms, he should be brought into the shade immediately and you should contact your veterinarian. You may be advised to provide small amounts of water to drink, apply a cold towel or icepack to the pet’s head, neck or chest, or immerse your dog in lukewarm water to begin lowering his body temperature prior to transport to the hospital.
If you do see a pet in distress, take down the car’s color, make, model and license plate number. Have the owner paged in the nearest buildings or call the police/local animal control. Don’t leave the scene until the situation has been resolved. Be a part of the solution and get involved.
Prevention is key to keeping pets safe from heatstroke. Education plays in important role in helping people to understand what might happen if they leave their pet in a hot car. So spread the word and share this article with family and friends.