Hot, hot, hot! - Dogs left in a hot car can die in minutes
Temperatures are soaring up over 100 degrees in many parts of the U.S. in an unusually hot summer and dogs suffering from overheating by being left in a car is becoming a big issue. Every year people are warned over and over again about the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car so it would seem logical that everyone should know by now about the danger that this poses to their pet. But this year 5 dogs died in hot cars before the summer was even 2 days old according to the Associated Press.
If a dog is left in a hot car, it can take just minutes for the temperature to get hot enough to cause death. The temperature on very hot days can become deadly in just 10 minutes or less. It has also been shown that the temperature in a car can increase up to 34 degrees in just 30 minutes. Heatstroke can happen very quickly. It is very difficult for dogs to survive the heat because the only way they can cool themselves is by panting and by sweating through their paw pads. Once heatstroke happens the dog will experience shock, eventually going into a coma and suffering respiratory and/or cardiac pulmonary arrest.
Currently in the U.S. there are 14 states that have laws that prohibit leaving an animal in a confined vehicle if it endangers the animal’s life. Other states handle deaths and injury under animal cruelty statutes. The most common offenders are people running errands that leave their dog in the car. They rationalize in their minds that it will only take a couple of minutes to run in somewhere and the dog will be fine.
So what should someone do if they are by themselves with their dog and they need to make a stop? The first suggestion is to leave your dog at home in the summer time so that this doesn't even become an issue. However, here are some suggestions of how to deal with this question. If there is a drive-up window, use it instead of going inside. This works for a lot of eating establishments, banks, cleaners and pharmacies. Or shop in stores that welcome pets such as pet stores. But if none of these ideas will work then do not make a stop where you have to leave your dog in the car. It is not worth the life of your dog.
If you see a dog that has been left in a car on a hot day it would be best not to confront the owner. Instead take down the car’s color, model, make, and license plate number and have the owner paged in the store. You can also call the local humane authorities, the police, or contact a security guard. Be sure to act quickly because there is little time to save a life in this situation. If the dog’s life appears to be in imminent danger and the owner of the car can’t be located and/or the police haven’t arrived at the scene yet, find a witness that will back up your assessment and then take steps to remove the suffering animal while you wait for the authorities to arrive.
Once you have gotten the dog out of the hot car, use water to cool him off. If the dog isn’t responding, get the dog wet with lukewarm water and immediately take the dog to a vet. If you have rubbing alcohol you can rub it on the pads of his feet, in his armpits and in his groin area. Do not use ice as it constricts the blood vessels and should never be used to cool the dog down.
Animals are voiceless when it comes to abuse and neglect. We are their voices and we must speak up and act in order to prevent this whether it is intended abuse or just poor judgement.
It can be a matter of life or death!