Spring is finally here with its warmer temperatures which usually means people tend to drive around a little more and bring their beloved dogs along for the ride. Majority of dogs love going on car rides with their humans, sticking their heads out of the window to enjoy the breeze and watch everything zoom by. With the gas prices where they are, people tend to drive with a destination or task in mind instead of taking the leisurely drive along the county roads or through town. This means that there is potential for dogs to be left in cars as their humans run a quick errand.
The thought process could be, I’ll only be a few minutes and I’ll just leave the window cracked some to get air circulating, my pup will be fine. According to paw-rescue.org, it can take dogs only a few minutes for them to suffer a heatstroke or even suffocate. Have you ever arrived at your destination on a warm day, turned off the car and instantly felt how warm the inside of your car became? Try adding some fur to that feeling with no way to escape and with little air coming through cracked windows. The heat inside of a car can rise to 90-120 degrees in 70 degree weather, depending on if the car is in the shade or in the sun.
My personal advice would be, if you need/want to take your pup on a trip to the store, have someone ride along to sit in the car with the pup. That way if the car would start getting hot, the person in the car can turn the a/c on to cool the car and make sure that the pup has enough water.
If you are unable to have someone ride along with you and have a relatively short errand to run, make sure that you follow these precautions:
- Make sure that you provide your pup with plenty of fresh water in a bowl.
- Roll down the windows enough that the pup can stick their head out without them being able to jump out of the car.
- Avoid taking your dogs on these trips on extremely hot days, especially if there is little or no breeze.
- Park in an area with plenty of shade, this will help the temperature inside the car not rise quickly.
Read up on your state laws! Some states have fines for leaving pets in cars, if you are curious if your state or a state you are visiting has a law for leaving pets in a car, check out http://animallaw.info/articles/State%20Tables/tbusdogshotcars.htm. This site is like a cheat sheet for the states with this particular animal law. According to this site, Ohio does not currently have this law to protect pets but here is something you can do if you would see an animal in a car on a hot day:
- Take note of the make, model, color and tags of the car, go into the store and have them page for the owners. I would do this especially if the animal looked in distress, there was little or no ventilation in the car and if there was little to no water for them.
- In states with the laws against leaving animals in cars, call the police, most of the time they respond faster than animal control can and have the capability to enter the car and rescue the animal.
The temperature will only get warmer as we head towards summer, think of your dogs when you want to take them on a car ride. Only take them when you know they will not be in the car by themselves or if need be, when it will only be a few minutes and you are well prepared with water and other items to help keep them cool.
Like a saying I saw somewhere on a social network, dogs are only in our lives for a short period of time, but to them, we are their whole life. Make sure you take care of them and keep them safe when the temperatures outside are hot!