By Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com
While we are enjoying the warm weather and summer activities – our pets may not be. One thing many people tend to forget or not even think of is pet safety and heat.
While there are many ways your pet can overheat; too much exercise in the heat of the day; squished face pets like bulldogs, pugs, Frenchies, Shihtzus who can’t breath that great to begin with – they have a hard time with the heat; and lack of access to water for your pets especially if they are outside for any length of time in this hot and humid weather.
Of course this time of year the major concern is pets left in cars. It amazes me year after year, that I still see people on a warm day leaving the windows open a crack and leaving their very furry dogs in the car – while they go into a store. According to a study done by San Francisco University, and if you haven’t seen this video of a veterinarian sitting in a hot car which shows how quickly temps rise during a heat wave.
Why not try it yourself, without your pet of course. Next time it is a beautiful 75 -80 degrees, go sit in your parked car crack the windows a bit and sit in there for 10 -15 minutes. Don’t cheat by drinking water or turning the AC on. Now imagine yourself in a fur coat without the ability to sweat. Are you hot yet?
Sometimes people think it’s ok to run into the store for 5-minutes during the summer and leave their pets in the car. But what if you get stuck in the store, there is a long line, problem at the register, etc., and there you are in the air-conditioned store while your pet is sweltering in the heat, causing heat exhaustion or worse death.
What to do if you see a pet left in the car during during the warm spring, summer and fall months:
- Call Animal Control of the town the car is located in. *Helpful tip, program the Animal Control phone #’s of all your town municipal animal shelters into your phone so you can quickly access them.
- Call the police, tell them the location, make/model color of the car, give them the license plate number. Take a photo of the car, license plate and pet inside the car.
- Stay until the authorites arrive to be sure the pet was safely evacuated from the hot car.
- Know the laws in your town, city and state. Some people may take actions into their own hands if the animal is in severe distress in the hot car and may get in trouble for bashing in the window of a car to save the pet. Some areas the laws are changing where you would not get into trouble.
Check to see if the car is running, sometimes people leave their car locked and running with the AC on, water in a bowl to run into a store for 5 minutes. It may not be ideal, but they are making the effort to make sure their pet is cool while they do their errand. This also goes for people who are traveling alone with their pets on a road trip, and may have to stop to use the rest stop.
Pet owners should also know if you are caught doing this or someone reports your car with a pet in it to the police, the police have the right to break into to your car with whatever means necessary, call animal control and have your pet seized. You may be issued a summons, arrested for animal cruelty, or more. So the next time you are running up to the supermarket on a hot day, please, please, please leave your pets at home in the AC!