Pets in hot cars
Pets bring immense joy to people. Dogs, specifically, are widely known as “man’s best friend.”
Majority of owners consider their pets as part of their family. They always bring them wherever they go, even when doing shopping.
However, there are people who may have overlooked the safety of their pets and unconsciously leave them inside their parked vehicles. These pet owners may not realize the danger that their pets may face if left inside a hot car.
According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), every year, pets, particularly dogs, suffer and die from heat exhaustion when their guardians make the mistake of leaving them in a parked car even for “just a minute” while they run an errand.
PETA says parked cars are deathtraps for dogs as the temperature inside can increase by 19º Fahrenheit to 22º F in less than 10 minutes and will rise to almost 30º F in just 20 minutes, causing brain damage or death due to heatstroke in just 15 minutes. The longer the pet waits inside, the higher the temperature will soar.
Dogs can cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paw pads but this process may be a little tough for dogs that are trapped inside a vehicle.
A study conducted by the Louisiana Office of Public Health showed that the temperature inside a dark sedan and a light gray minivan parked on a hot but partly cloudy day exceeded 125o F within just 20 minutes.
Responsible pet ownership does not only mean caring for your own pet but also considering the welfare of other pets that you may see while on the road. If you happen to see a dog or any pet left alone inside a parked car, take note of the car’s details like the model, make, color and license plate. Do something to call the attention of the car’s owner like asking for help in the nearest building where the car is parked and have him or her paged. Or you can call the police.
If you see that the pet seems to be struggling inside the vehicle, find someone who can help you and do something to remove the animal from the car. Check for symptoms of heatstroke like rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting, restlessness, excessive thirst, thick saliva, heavy panting and lethargy. If all these are present, bring the pet immediately into an air-conditioned vehicle or building and give water to drink. You may immerse the pet in a tub with cool water to lower the temperature or apply wet towels on the paws, groin, chest and stomach. Then bring the animal to the veterinarian for a thorough check up and treatment.
If you are planning to bring your pet with you, do an assessment first if it is really necessary because your pet might be better safe if left at home.