Leaving Dogs in Cars
Common sense tells
most people that leaving their pet inside a parked vehicle on a hot,
summer day could be dangerous after an extended period of time. But
most people don't realize that the temperature can skyrocket after
just a few minutes. Parking in the shade or leaving the windows
cracked does little to alleviate this pressure cooker.
On a warm, sunny
day windows collect light, trapping heat inside the vehicle, and
pushing the temperature inside to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree
Fahrenheit day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the
windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within ten minutes.
After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. At 110
degrees, pets are in danger of heatstroke. On hot and humid days,
the temperature in a car parked in direct sunlight can rise more
than 30 degrees per minute, and quickly become lethal.
Pets, more so than
humans, are susceptible to overheating. While people can roll down
windows, turn on the air conditioner or exit the vehicle when they
become too hot, pets cannot. And pets are much less efficient at
cooling themselves than people are.
Dogs, for example,
are designed to conserve heat. Their sweat glands, which exist on
their nose and the pads of their feet, are inadequate for cooling
during hot days. Panting and drinking water helps cool them, but if
they only have overheated air to breathe, dogs can suffer brain and
organ damage after just 15 minutes. Short-nosed breeds, like pugs
and bulldogs, young pets, seniors or pets with weight, respiratory,
cardiovascular or other health problems are especially susceptible
to heat-related stress.
In many states,
it's against the law to leave a pet unattended in a parked vehicle
in a manner than endangers the health or safety of the animal.
Despite these laws, not to mention a basic common sense that should
guide most pet owners during the summer, companion animals die every
year from heatstroke. The worst part is knowing that each death was
preventable. That's why sharing this information is so important.
Summers, after all, are truly supposed to be carefree.
For more valuable
information visit The Humane Society of the United States website at
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