Temperatures have soared the past few weeks, with sweltering heat that can be dangerous for pets, and leaving your pet in a vehicle can quickly have hazardous consequences. Children and pets should never be left alone in parked cars because sunlight can spike car interiors to lethal temperatures in just a few minutes, even if the weather is relatively mild. Catherine McLaren, at Stanford University, conducted research on car heating, and concluded that regardless of outside air temps, the car heated up at a similar rate—gaining 80% of its final temperature within 30 minutes, and cars that started out at comfortable 71 degrees spiked to over 115 degrees …and cracking the windows open made very little difference. In one study begun at 7:45 a.m., a car was left on the shaded side of a building with two windows open. The outside temperature was 75 degrees, and at 9;30 the temp inside the car was 130 degrees while the outside temperature was not yet 90 degrees. Other studies have shown that the temperature inside a car can reach 200 degrees if parked in direct sunlight.
A dog left in a hot car will struggle to get out, and the more he struggles, the faster his temperature will rise, and it doesn’t take long for him to begin suffering irreparable brain damage or death. Every year many dogs die agonizing deaths in parked cars… Don’t let this happen to your dog. Be kind, and leave him home!
If you see a dog that needs immediate help, remember it is illegal to break the window; it is property damage and anyone can be held liable for damages, but it is important to act quickly. Write down the car’s make, model, and license-plate number, and if there are businesses nearby, notify the manager or security guard, asking them to make an announcement to find the car’s owner. If you feel the dog is in immediate danger, or no owner responds within a few minutes, call the local police or animal control, and wait for them to arrive.
I have already seen several dogs at risk this summer, and I would guess you have too, so it is important to be prepared to call for help: have the phone numbers of both your animal control agency and the police department, and keep these numbers in your purse or programmed into your phone. Every minute counts!
Get involved by asking local store managers, restaurants, and other businesses to post signs asking customers to not leave their pets in their cars while shopping or dining , and if your town doesn’t have a law prohibiting leaving pets in parked cars, contact your local council or area representatives. It is never cool to cook your dog!