Posted by: | April 8, 2011

Dogs in cars

It’s that time of year again when the weather is warming up and more people are enjoying the outdoors. Remember, your dog is your companion, so it feels great to get them outside and spend time together.

Regardless if you’re both out enjoying the fresh air, or if you’re both simply running errands together, it’s important for you both to be outside. Your dog doesn’t enjoy being locked up all day like a prisoner. He/She wants to be outside enjoying all of the sights, sounds and smells of the neighborhood.

If you both decide to run errands together, it’s very important to remember that you don’t want to take your dog ANYWHERE that your dog is not allowed to be. Example: If your dog isn’t allowed inside the grocery store, DO NOT bring them along when you go to the grocery store. Just because your dog came with you is no excuse for leaving it inside the car while you go inside to shop. It doesn’t matter if you’re inside the store for 2 minutes or 2 hours. A dog should NEVER be left alone in a vehicle.

It only takes minutes for a dog in a vehicle to succumb to heatstroke and suffocation. Every year we hear about dogs dying because they were left alone in the car, but people still do it almost daily. A simple 60 degrees outside can result in 90 degree temperatures inside a vehicle. On a 78 degree day, a car parked in the shade can result in high 90 degree temperatures, and car parked in the sun can result in 160 degree temperatures.

Dogs are unable to sweat like humans do. They can only attempt to cool down by panting and releasing sweat through the pads on their feet. Even with the windows ‘cracked’ a dog will be breathing overheated air. Within 15 minutes a dog’s body temperature can climb from normal to 102.5 degrees and above. This is a deadly temperature which can damage the nervous and cardiovascular systems, cause brain damage, dehydration and may possibly lead to death.

Prevention is critical. It’s not enough to make sure that we aren’t leaving pets alone in cars. We should be educating other pet owners on the dangers as well.

There are things you can do to help a pet left alone in a vehicle on a hot day. First, note the car make, model and license plate number (it may be more convenient to take a picture of the license plate with your camera phone). Then go into nearby stores to have the manager page the vehicle owner. While waiting, you can call the police. The police will most likely arrive before animal control can, and also have the authority to enter the vehicle and rescue the dog. In a situation like this, every second counts.

Depending on local law, some cities give citizens the authority to use reasonable force to break the window and rescue the dog. Depending on the condition of the distressed pet, and if you don’t know your local law, it may be best to wait for the police.

Remember the rule: If your dog can’t go inside with you, don’t bring them along. Leaving your dog in a parked car may be a deadly mistake. Fortunately, it’s completely preventable.

Thanks for caring!

Tim Heise
– Certified Pet Care Specialist
Absolute Pet Care, LLC
Scottsdale, AZ

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