In today’s world, it is common for us all to want to take our sweet furry friends wherever we go: to the mall, the market, out to lunch … Because this has become so routine, people often leave their animals behind in the car, many times without giving it a second thought!
The fact is, leaving your animal in an unattended vehicle is a CRIME! Many state’s animal abuse laws prohibit this conduct when the animal is subjected to conditions that may affect the animal’s health or safety.
While most people who leave their animals in the car have done so with no criminal intent, every year dogs suffer and die when their guardians make the mistake of leaving them in a parked car—even for “just a minute”—while they run an errand.
Parked cars are a deathtraps for animals! Did you know that on a 78F degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can rise to between 100 and 120F degrees in just minutes? And on a 90F degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160F degrees in less than 10 minutes? Now you do!
Animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Beating the heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paw pads.
Typical anti-cruelty laws usually punish several different kinds of conduct, ranging from abandonment of a dog, to neglect, to intentional harm.. Some states have only one or two broadly worded statutes that prohibit any kind of “inhumane” or “needlessly cruel” treatment. Others have several statutes: both a catch-all ban on cruel treatment and prohibitions of specific acts—for example, abandoning an animal, leaving it in a car without proper ventilation, or cropping its ears without anesthesia.
A broadly worded statute prohibits many kinds of cruelty, even though it doesn’t list them specifically. Locking a dog in a car that overheats could be illegal under a catch-all statute that forbids cruelty to animals, even if there’s no specific mention of that conduct in the statute.
What to do if you see a dog left alone in a hot car? Take down the car’s color, model, make, and license plate number. Have the owner paged in the nearest buildings, or call local humane authorities or police. Have someone keep an eye on the dog. Don’t leave the scene until the situation has been resolved.
Watch for heatstroke symptoms such as restlessness, excessive thirst, thick saliva, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and lack of coordination. If a dog shows any of these symptoms, get him or her out of the heat, preferably into an air-conditioned vehicle, and then to a veterinarian immediately. If you are unable to transport the dog yourself, take him or her into an air-conditioned building if possible and call animal control: Tell them it is an emergency.
Provide water to drink, and if possible lightly spray the dog with a garden hose or immerse him or her in a tub of cool water for up to two minutes in order to lower the body temperature gradually. You can also place the dog in front of an electric fan. Applying cool, wet towels to the groin area, stomach, chest, and paws can also help. Be careful not to use ice or cold water, and don’t over-cool the animal.
Here are a few important tips for keeping your pet safe in the car.
1. Keep your pet contained in the car. You’ll want to make sure their crate or carrier has ample ventilation and is large enough for them to move around in comfortably.
2. It’s a good idea to let your pet spend some time in their crate while it’s still at home, where they’ll feel more comfortable.
3. NEVER let your pet sit in your lap while you’re driving!
4. Whenever you take your pet away, make sure they are wearing a secure collar with a proper identification tag containing their name, your name, and your home address and phone number.
5. Bring plenty of bottled water, or water from home, as drinking water from an unfamiliar location could result in an upset stomach.
6. Don’t forget to pack travel papers, food and treats, an extra collar and leash, plastic bags, and a first-aid kit whenever you’re planning to travel with your pet.
7. Bringing a special toy or blanket from home is a good way to keep them feeling calm and comfortable.
8. Cover your seats and floors with plastic or rubber covers to prevent stains from any accidents your pet might have.
9. If your dog is too large to stay in a crate for the entire drive, consider investing in a specially-designed pet harness.
10. Regardless of the weather, never leave your pet alone in a parked car. Both cold weather and hot weather can be seriously harmful to your animal!
11. If you’re traveling from state to state, you might be asked to present proof of your pet’s rabies vaccination, so bring it along just in case!
Safe travels! Woof-woof!
Bark about it!