It’s a passionate plea for pet owners to never leave their dogs in a parked car; it doesn’t matter if it’s just going to be for a few minutes to run into the store to buy soda and potato chips. There are no excuses, but remember the suffering of your pet is 100% preventable.
Parked cars are true deathtraps for dogs; on a pleasant 78 degree day, the interior temperature of car can heat up to 100 to 120 degrees within a half hour. On a sweltering 90 degree outdoor temperature day, a parked car with the windows down one to two inches can heat to 160 degrees in less than ten minutes.
What must it be like to be a dog left in a car on a typical summer day? The windows cracked, but slowly his anxious anticipation waiting for his owner to return turns into panic as the frightened dog finds the heat unbearable. His only way to cool himself is through panting and the small sweat glands on his paw pads, but that’s hardly enough to control his rising inner core temperature. Within 15 minutes, he suffers brain damage; shortly after that he dies of heatstroke as his organs shut down.
Everyday, there are media reports about dogs left in cars; some are fortunate enough to have been rescued, but far too many have died. Perhaps the experience of Dr. Ernie Ward, a veterinarian who locked himself in a car with a thermometer for 30 minutes, will give every pet owner,who thinks their pet needs to take a car ride and subsequent quick stop at the store, a better insight.
When Ward stepped into his parked car on a summer day; the outside temperature read 94 degrees, and all four windows were cracked at least an inch. Within five minutes, the temperature had reached 100 degrees. Another ten minutes, and the temperature reached an unbearable 106 degrees. Despite the gentle breezes outside, nothing could be felt inside except for the oppressive heat.
Temperatures rose to 110 degrees within 20 minutes and to over 115 degrees by the 30 minute end to Ward’s experiment. The veterinarian was soaked in sweat, and said his experience was unbearable, but remember dogs don’t perspire nor do they have the option of opening the door and ending the experience.
So what should you do if you see a dog suffering in a hot car? Begin by taking down the model, make, color and license plate of the car. Go into the nearest store, and have a staff member make an announcement for the owner of the car. Call authorities.
If the dog seems unresponsive or is in imminent danger, gather some witnesses who will vouch for the dog’s condition, and remove the suffering animal from the vehicle; wait for the police or animal control.
Ideally the dog should be immediately transported to the nearest emergency veterinarian facility, but taking the animal into the cool air conditioning and slowly bringing his temperature down with wet towels to the groin, stomach, chest, and paw areas may help.
Watch the video with Dr. Ward, and please leave your pets at home.
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