It's finally here! Summer is one of my favorite times of the year. Longer days, time for visiting the beach and hours playing in the water are all reasons why the summer is one of the best times of the year. By the time we reach August, we have already spent days that reach temps over 100-degrees.
It's important to remember pets and the animals we share our lives with need us to make sure they are kept safe during the summer heat. Dogs can't sweat and have no way to cool themselves off and their fur coats make hot temperatures not only miserable but can lead to death.
Every year dogs die inside hot cars. Many dog owners do not realize that the temperature inside a parked vehicle will rise to dangerous levels in a short period of time. Leaving a dog in a car, even for a few minutes, while we are running quick errands can lead to deadly consequences.
PETA teamed up with Tyrann Mathieu, NFL player to see how long he could survive in a hot car on a 90-degree day. After 8 minutes the temperature was over 120-degrees and Mathieu couldn't handle it any longer.
How Long Can This NFL Player Tough It Out in a Hot Car? www.youtube.com
On 90-degree day temperatures can reach 140 degrees in less than 15 minutes. Cracking windows, parking in the shade and leaving the Air Conditioning on will not prevent a pet from developing heat exhaustion.
Sidewalks and asphalt can get over 140-degrees when it is hot outside. It only takes a minute for blisters and permanent damage on your dogs' paws to happen. Walk early in the morning or late at night when it's cooler, carry water and take frequent breaks in the shade.
Taking our fur buddies to the beach for a day is something many dogs owners enjoy. Keep in mind that while they dig in the sand and play in the waves with us, they can get sunburned just like we do. If you and your dog are heading out for a day of fun in the sun, apply pet-safe sunscreen on their ears, and the nose/mouth area. You can remember what brands are pet-friendly and safe by looking for labels that are safe for babies. Avoid products with Zinc which can be poisonous for dogs if they lick it.
What should you do if you see a dog left alone in a hot car?
Write down the car's color, model, make, and license plate number and a description of the dog. CALL 911 and have the owner paged in the nearest buildings or call local humane authorities. If possible, stay with the dog until the situation has been resolved.
Remember! Dogs can't cool themselves down by panting. Once a car reaches 105-degrees heatstroke begins. Watch for excessive thirst, thick saliva, heavy panting, lethargy, panic/restlessness, dark tongue, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, and lack of coordination. These dogs will need to go to a Vet ASAP to save their lives.
Over 14 states have "Good Samaritan" laws that allow concerned individuals to rescue a dog left in a hot car without the fear of being arrested or being sued by the owner of a car suing to recover damages. Each state has specific requirements under the "Good Samaritan" law such as: reasonable belief the animal's health or life is at imminent risk, contacting law enforcement before attempting to enter the vehicle, using no more force than is necessary; and remaining with the animal in a safe location until law enforcement arrives.
It's important to know what laws exist in your area if you are considering using the Good Samaritan law. You can check with your local ASPCA, visit the Animal Legal Defense Fund to learn more about which state laws and city/county ordinances in your area address leaving animals unattended in vehicles.