Thursday, April 16, 2009

Watch Out for the Heat

It can be hard to stay inside this time of year when the weather is warming up and the flowers start blooming. We all like to get outside and if you're like me, you like to bring your dog with you everywhere you can.
One of the great things about having a dog is the fun that you can have taking them for long walks, and hikes or just to play at the dog park. The warm days also make me think of something else though, all the dogs that I have seen locked in cars during the summer. Years ago, I was an animal control officer and cruelty investigator. I can't tell you how many times I was called to a parking lot where someone had left their dog locked in a car. The windows were usually cracked a little, but that doesn't really help. I had to remove many dogs from cars and rush them to the veterinarian to treat heatstroke. If they hadn't been removed they could have suffered brain damage or death.
Cars work like greenhouses, all windows letting in the heat from the sun and surfaces that retain the heat. It can take just a few minutes for the temperature in your car to rise to 20 degrees or hotter than the outside air, which can be fatal for your pet.
Dogs do not have sweat glands to cool them like we do. They cool themselves by panting, which is intended to bring cooler air and water into their bodies. The problem in the car is that the air continually gets hotter and there is no way for dogs to cool off.
If you're like me, when summer comes the first thing that you do when you get in your car is roll down a window because the heat inside is stifling. Imagine if you had to sit in there for just 15 minutes while someone runs into a store. That's what many dogs experience all summer long and its not something that I would want happening to me.

So do the right thing for your pets this summer. Leave them home when you have to make stops or go shopping. By leaving them in the car, you may be risking their lives.

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