Unfortunately the heat doesn’t always mean great things for fur-kids. Since our dogs generally don’t get to have all the fun that we do at the pool (the whole dog-hair in the pool thing), generally the only way they can beat the heat is through panting and sweating through their paw pads.
So, to make sure your pooch beats the heat and stays healthy this summer I want you to repeat this to yourself 10 times: Fur-kids, cars and warm days don’t mix.
When you put your fur-kid in your car and then turn the car off, ALL ventilation stops. Your car can reach a scorching 106 degrees even on mildly warm days. Yes, even with your window cracked. That’s because a car acts just like a greenhouse, trapping the sun’s heat.
Leaving your fur-kid in your car, even “for just a minute” can be extremely dangerous. On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 to 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. So, parked cars are death-traps for your fur-kid.
What happens to fur-kids (and people-kids) left in hot cars? Exposure to excessive heat causes the body’s cells to stop working properly and release dangerous chemicals, which can lead to nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage and most certainly death. Essentially, all of your beloved fur-kid’s organ systems shut down at once. They literally cook from the inside out.
Every year, the Louisville Metro Police Department, The Kentucky Humane Society and Louisville Metro Animal Services get bombarded with phone calls from concerned pet-parents because they notice other people’s fur-kids left all alone in hot vehicles. And, hey, it is against the law in most states to leave a pet unattended in a vehicle on a warm day.
What should you do if you see a fur-kid (or a people-kid for that matter) left alone in a car? Take down the car’s color, model, make and license plate number. Have the pet-parent paged in the store, or call local humane authorities or police. Have someone keep an eye on the dog. Don’t leave the scene until the situation has been resolved.
I have personally witnessed dogs left suffering in hot cars and have called the authorities. I can’t speak for others, but if police are unresponsive or too slow and the dog’s life appears to be in imminent danger, I would (and DID) find a witness (or several) who backed up my personal assessment of the situation. I took steps to remove the poor suffering fur-kid and then waited for authorities to arrive. The owner wasn’t happy; but I was a certain extremely grateful Labradoodle’s hero for the day, and that was good enough for me.
Beth Green is a Louisville native and owns Paws Pet Care, a local award-winning pet-sitting and dog-walking company. You can contact her via www.pawspetcareathome.com.