Summer is a great time to take our canine companions to the dog park, the beach, and other fun places. But when the mercury rises, we must be extra careful never to leave dogs in cars, even “just for a minute.”
Every summer, PETA receives dozens of reports of animals who have suffered and died in hot, parked vehicles
Last month, Jeg, a drug-sniffing dog with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, had to be euthanized after his human partner reportedly forgot him in a hot patrol car for more than an hour. In San Antonio, Texas, two dogs with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office died from heat exposure after a deputy apparently forgot them inside a patrol vehicle overnight.
Forgetting a passenger may seem unimaginable, but anyone can make this deadly mistake. That’s why it’s so important to make it a habit to check the front and back of our vehicles after parking to ensure that no one has been left behind and to come to the rescue of anyone we see left in a hot car.
To illustrate how dogs suffer when their guardians leave them in hot cars, Italian supermodel Elisabetta Canalis teamed up with PETA for a new TV spot in which she wakes up to discover that she is trapped in a hot car on a summer day. Sweating and gasping for air, Canalis struggles to unlock the doors and open the windows until she finally collapses. “Dogs can suffer from heatstroke and die in a matter of minutes when left in a car on a warm day,” the ad explains. “In the summer, leave your dog at home.”
It doesn’t take long for a parked vehicle to turn deadly: When it’s just 78 degrees outside, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in minutes. On a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can spike to 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Leaving the windows open a crack and parking in the shade won’t keep vehicles cool enough to be safe.
If we see a dog or any living being left in a hot car, it’s crucial to have the owner paged and/or dial 911 immediately. If the victim is showing signs of heatstroke (for dogs, this includes restlessness, heavy panting, vomiting, lethargy, and a lack of coordination), we should find a witness who will back up our assessment, and then get the victim out of the car and into the shade as quickly as possible, cool the victim with water, and immediately call 911 or a veterinarian.
Let’s make this summer cool, not cruel, for our canine companions by taking them home, where they will be comfortable, happy, and safe, before we run errands and always being on the lookout for dogs trapped in hot cars.
Image courtesy of Flickr’s The Commons.