It’s a beautiful summer day and you and your pup have just taken a nice stroll through the park. You’ve got to run this errand real quick, and it will likely be less than 10 minutes to take. Your four legged friend will be just fine while you park the car and run into the store. Right?
Wrong. Leaving a pet in a car for “just a minute” may be one minute too long. Every year, countless pets die after being left in cars while their owners work, visit, shop, or run errands. What’s worse is that these deaths are entirely preventable.
Just how hot does it get inside your car on a nice summer day? Watch this video from RedRover, who has created an awareness campaign dubbed MyDogIsCool.com.
A study by the Animal Protection Institute/Born Free USA showed that even moderately warm temperatures outside can quickly lead to deadly temperatures inside a closed car. While the temperature outside is an enjoyable 70 degrees, the inside of your car may be as much as 20 degrees warmer. For example, on a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in minutes. And on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Parking in the shade offers little protection, and it moves as the sun makes its way across the sky. Cracking the windows doesn’t reduce the danger, either.
Pets left in hot cars can suffer nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage and death. In as little as 15 minutes, your pet can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke. Beating the heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paws. Pets most at risk for hyperthermia (overheating) include young animals, elderly animals, overweight animals, those with short muzzles (such as pugs) and those with thick or dark-colored coats.
If you see a dog in a parked car on a hot day:
1. Note the make/model of the vehicle, license plate number and its specific location. Note a description of the pet(s), the condition of the pet(s), and the time.
It’s not worth it. Don’t leave your pet in the car.
UPDATE: July 1, 2013
If you're interested in another take on what it's like for your pet to be in a hot car, check out what Veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward does.
The video below serves as a vivid reminder to pet parents to NOT leave a dog in a hot car, even if only for a few minutes.
UPDATE: July 2, 2013
A young lady snapped this picture of a pup who was trapped in a hot car in front of Walmart in Gillette on July 2 and shared it on Facebook. She called the police and waited for Animal Control to show up before she left the scene. She did the right thing. Feel free to share this message.
UPDATE: July 5, 2016
We found some great tools from MyDogIsCool.com that we wanted to share with you. Please feel free to use them yourself.
Flyers to leave on cars (you can download the file under the pictures of what the flyers look like):
Created in November 2011, the Fur Kids Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides education and aid to promote the well-being of animals in Campbell County.
Your donation saves lives. It goes to work helping animals in Campbell County receive adequate veterinary care during a time when their family may not be able to afford it. Please contact the Foundation to learn more or donate now using PayPal.