Better yet, leave them at home in a cool space with plenty of water to drink.
We live in an information age. Information is everywhere and any subject can be researched with ease. Ignorance is no longer a valid excuse.
Who hasn’t heard on the news or read on social media that children and pets can die when they are left alone in a car on even a moderately warm day.
Here are the facts:
- When it's 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit within an hour.
- When it's 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 99 degrees Fahrenheit within 10 minutes.
- Rolling down the windows has been shown to have little to no effect on the rising temperature inside a car.
Cracking the car windows makes absolutely no difference. In a short amount of time, dogs can suffer heatstroke, kidney failure, internal bleeding and sustain brain damage, but many simply die.
Most people do love their pets. For the most part, they are unaware of how rapidly a car heats up, or they would never leave them alone in a parked car.
How to help a pet left in a hot car
- Be prepared. These tips can help you stay calm if you ever come across a distressed animal:
- Learn your town and state laws about leaving pets in hot cars. An increasing amount of states prohibit leaving pets in hot cars, and some grant immunity to good Samaritans who must rescue pets in visible distress. In the state of North Carolina, any animal control officer, animal cruelty investigator appointed under G.S. 19A-45, law enforcement officer, firefighter, or rescue squad worker may break into a car to rescue an animal in distress.
- Gather essential telephone numbers to have on hand. You'll want to have your local animal control agency's number and the police department's non-emergency number so you can quickly report the situation. Keep these numbers in your phone. You can also call 911 if the animal is in clear distress. Local police consider a dog in a hot car a very high priority.
- If you see a distressed pet in a locked car, follow these guidelines:
- Take down the car's make, model and license plate number.
- If there are businesses nearby, notify their managers or security guards and ask them to make an announcement o find the car's owner. Some people are unaware of the danger of leaving pets in hot cars and will quickly return to their vehicle once they are alerted to the situation.
- If the owner can't be found, call the non-emergency number of your local police or animal control and wait by the car for them to arrive. You can call 911 if the animal is in clear distress. Local police consider a dog in a hot car a very high priority.
- Once the dog is out of the car, take these emergency steps:
- Gradually lower his body temperature by sprinkling cool water on him. Do not soak him in cool or cold water because his temperature could drop too low.
- Place cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, in the armpits, and in the groin area. You may also wet the ear flaps and paws with cool water. Direct a fan on the wet areas to speed evaporative cooling.
- You may offer fresh, cool water if the dog is alert and wants to drink. Do not force the pet to drink.
- The owner should take the dog to the vet at their first opportunity.
You could also take a picture of the dog in the car and then go to a weather app and take a screenshot of the temperature on that day at that time. Keep these handy in case you need them for the police to prosecute the owner of the dog for animal cruelty. Whether or not the dog’s owner will be prosecuted depends on the circumstances.
If the owner returns and becomes confrontational, you need to walk away. If you are involved in a physical fight, whether you instigated it or not, you could easily face assault charges.
Read this page again, and then tell your friends. Have your friends tell their friends and so on and so on. Let’s spread this message everywhere so no pet or child ever has to suffer inside an overheated car again. Education is the key to saving lives.
You can also spread the word by printing and distributing the Humane Society of the United States' hot car flyer [PDF], which spells out the dangers of leaving pets in parked cars.
These facts have been gathered from several informational sources, including the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, The U of M Animal Legal Center and local authorities.