Now that weather is finally nice enough to not require bundling up before heading out the door, people are taking their animals, mainly dogs, with them more often.

While this is a great idea in theory, it can be dangerous, even deadly, in its application.

When I say that, I’m talking specifically about leaving an animal in a hot car without proper ventilation. Unlike humans, dogs don’t have the ability to release heat through sweat, and though they do have sweat glands in their paws, they aren’t enough to keep the animal cool. Panting helps, but that gets harder and harder for the animal to do when inside a sealed car.

Even on mild days, parked in the shade with windows rolled down, the temperature inside a car can get stifling, meaning even a short time spent in a car could turn life threatening.

Signs a dog is in heat distress include excessive panting, excessive drooling, an increased heart rate, trouble breathing, disorientation, collapse or loss of consciousness, and seizures.

If it’s suspected an animal might be suffering from heat stroke, they should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. Until that’s able to happen, they should be brought into the shade and given a cool drink. Their fur should also be wet with lukewarm water. 

Some might be tempted to break open one of the car windows, but that’s really not a good idea.

The car’s make, model, and license plate should be taken down, and managers or security guards at any businesses close by should be notified so as announcement can be made. Not everyone is aware of how dangerous it can be leaving an animal in a hot car. If an owner can’t be found, the best thing to do is call the non-emergency number of local law enforcement or animal control.

As much as we love our animals, we don’t need to take them everywhere.

If you can’t take your pet with you when you leave your car, the best thing to do is leave them at home.

Jillian Trainor


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