There's nothing quite as wonderful as having your dog (or cat!) in the car seat next to you, cruising along with you as you run errands and travel. But before you head out this summer, keep in mind that keeping any pet inside a car on a hot day, even with the windows cracked, could be dangerous for the animal.
Did you know that a car can climb from 85 degrees to 120 degrees in only 30 minutes? The ASPCA provides some great tips above and on their website. A quick trip to the grocery store may not be quick enough on an extremely hot day.
The Partnership for Animal Welfare has some great tips for avoiding a deadly situation for your furry best friend:
- Leave your dog at home on warm days.
- On trips with your pet, bring plenty of fresh drinking water and bowl.
- Don't let dogs ride loose in pick-up truck beds. The hot metal can burn a dog's paws, the sun and flying debris can hurt the dog, the dog can accidentally be thrown out of the truck if the brakes are suddenly applied, and the dog can jump out if scared or upon seeing something interesting to chase. Instead, use a crate to create a safer space for the dog if you can't fit the dog inside the truck cab.
- Take the dog into the shade, an air conditioned area, or to the vet if you see signs of heat exhaustion, which include restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, dark tongue, rapid pulse, fever, vomiting, glazed eyes, dizziness, or lack of coordination. To lower body temperature gradually, give the animal water to drink, place a cold towel or ice pack on the head, neck and chest, and/or immerse the dog in cool (not cold) water. Call your veterinarian.
Consider, too, that even leaving air conditioning running may not always solve the problem. If a car overheats or the AC falters, it could create an even more dangerous situation for your pet.
In most states and local governments, it's against the law to leave a pet in a hot car, so if you see an animal unattended in a warm car on a hot, sunny day, try to locate the owner. If that's not possible, contact your local authorities who will be able to help you.
Watch as an animal control officer rescues a dog overheating in a car: