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It Takes Only Minutes: Please Don’t Leave Pets in Hot Cars!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 9:45am

Each year, thousands of beloved companions succumb to heatstroke and suffocation when left in parked cars. It happens most often when people make quick stops—the dry cleaners, the bank or the local deli. Folks, we need to be clear on this: It takes only minutes for your pet to face death—and it doesn’t have to be that hot out. On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 160 degrees. Even with the windows cracked. 

You can help save pets from dying in hot cars. Simply take the following actions: 

  • Educate people. Hang this printable flyer [PDF] up in your local grocery store, veterinary hospital, animal shelter and other local businesses.

  • If you see something, say something. If you see a dog alone in a vehicle, immediately call animal control or 911. Local law officials have the ability to enter vehicle and rescue the pet. Do not leave until help has arrived.

  • Try to find the car’s owner. If you are out and you see a dog locked in a car, tell the nearby store manager immediately. Don't be shy.

  •  And please, no matter how much your dog loves to go along when you run errands, don't take a chance. Leave her home where she is safe. 

For more information, visit our Summer Safety Tips!

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Emily

This happened to me today. I discovered not one, but TWO dogs left in hot cars in a grocery store parking lot at 3pm with the sun shining down on them. One car had NO windows open (only the sun roof halfway) and the other had four windows cracked open only.
I checked on the dogs, then called the police, who dispatched the animal control officer immediately.
People are truly idiots.

Jeff L

I keep hearing the preaching, but I don't see where anyone is stepping up to the plate and describing how dangerous temperature conditions are generated within a vehicle, nor what temperature ranges are OK for various breeds of animals, their weight, and fur length.

A temperature rise inside a vehicle is by a large margin governed by the amount of sunlight reaching it. With 100% cloud cover, the temperature inside will remain close to outside temperature, aside from some minor contribution from engine heat and body heat. Under these conditions if the windows are open to at least 1 inch on both sides then there will be negligible heating effect and adequate ventilation for several large animals. So it might be 80 degrees outside, but if it will exceed 100 degrees on a cloudy day, then someone needs to explain how to re-write the laws of physics.

Before flying off the handle, or having the hammer head fly off when you go to break someone's car glass, consider carrying an infrared thermometer so you can verify the actual temperature versus the perceived temperature that's likely behind a swinging hammer. The IR thermometer will read the temperature through the glass.

Also, before going into an emotional avalanche over the subject, as a pet community, it's our responsibility to establish safe temperature limits for pets, and to understand the simple concepts of heat gain. Keep a thermometer in your car and read it every time you get in, whether there is a pet inside or not. It won't take long before you'll recognize what conditions cause what amount of temperature rise. The warnings are always geared toward the worst-case scenario, and assume that not everyone is willing to analyze temperature rise, but for the rest of us, established temperature limits, a thermometer, simple observation and common sense will probably save more pets from harm than those who leave their A/C running out of blunt ignorance only to find out the engine shut down from overheating when they sat down for dinner, pumping antifreeze-laden steam into the cabin on a clear 90 degree midsummer day.

Lorena

This is a video that shows the horrible situation that can hapoen if we leave children or pets inside a car http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XNDWN8KDVSM

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