Dogs In Hot Cars and Other Summer Dangers
Never leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle!
Even if it’s just for a moment, and even if the windows are cracked—it is never safe to leave an animal in a parked vehicle alone. Don’t let an excuse cost an animal their life. Not only can leaving an animal in a hot car lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal in several states!
As of May 2018, 28 states have laws concerning companion animals left unattended in parked vehicles under dangerous conditions, such as intense weather conditions. Some of these laws involve legal action against the vehicle owner, while other laws provide immunity to those who may use forcible means—such as smashing a window—to rescue a vulnerable animal in a car.
To better understand the laws in your state, and to better prepare yourself for an emergency situation such as this, check out this full list of state laws concerning animals left unattended in vehicles. Also be aware that even in jurisdictions without such specific laws, endangering an animal’s life in this way could be prosecuted under general anti-cruelty statutes.
Stay safe as temperatures rise.
We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger. To prevent your pet from overheating, follow this additional advice:
Know the signs of heatstroke and how to prevent it.
Symptoms of overheating in pets can include:
- Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
- Increased heart and respiratory rate
- Mild weakness
Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
You’ll want to keep an eye out for these signs of distress, but you’ll also want to ensure that your pet is properly hydrated at all times. Make sure you give your pets plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. Ensure that your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them and use your best judgment to keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot. Never let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during peak daytime hours to a minimum.
Also keep in mind that animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively as others. These pets, along with elderly and overweight animals, as well as those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
Haircuts can be helpful also.
Feel free to trim longer hair on your pets, but never shave them down to the skin. The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. Be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
For other ways to help, check out our full list of hot weather safety tips, and download and share our hot weather safety infographic to alert others of the dangers pets may face during the summer.