Featured News 2018 The Dangers of Leaving a Pet Inside Your Car

The Dangers of Leaving a Pet Inside Your Car

Many of our four-legged companions love riding in the car—and maybe you love to take your pets with you. While bringing your dog along for the ride may sound like a fun idea, here's what you need to know before you do:

One of the most dangerous things you can do is leave your pet in the car.

You may be tempted to take your dog with you to the store and leave him or her in the vehicle while you do your shopping, but that exact decision has led to the death of many animals that could not stand the heat.

If you choose to leave your pet in the car, rolling down the window won't solve the problem. While rolling down a window will allow ventilation, this still may not be enough to keep the interior temperature from reaching dangerous levels. On the other hand, rolling down the window too low may give your dog an avenue of escape.

"I'll Just Leave the AC Running, It'll Be Fine"

Some people assume that it's safe to leave a pup in the car if the air conditioning is on. This does not always keep pets safe from danger.

On a balmy Texas afternoon in 2003, an officer left his K-9 partner in the patrol vehicle while he attended to something outside. The air conditioning was running when he left the dog, but he didn't know that the compressor shut down and started blowing hot air while his attention was elsewhere. His car, unfortunately, had been fitted with a computer function that turns off the air compressor when the engine reaches a certain temperature. The patrol dog suffocated and died.

Why Is It Dangerous to Leave Pets in Your Car?

Dogs do not sweat in the same way that humans do, and thick fur coats make them prone to dehydration. Cats also can have dangerous reactions to stifling heat inside a locked car. In just 15 minutes, a pet's temperature can climb to fatal levels when left in a heated area.

To avoid tragedy, leave your dog at home on warm days. If you do decide to bring your pet along on a trip when the weather is cool, bring fresh drinking water for him or her.

Warning: elderly, overweight, or large dogs are more prone to heat sickness.

Just because your dog isn't in an enclosed space doesn't mean it's wise to leave him or her in the bed of your truck. When sunshine heats the black truck bed it can burn your dog's paws. Also, the black plastic can attract sunlight and extra warmth. If you want to put your pet in the truck bed, place him or her in a dog crate with blankets and plenty of water. Still, on hot summer days you should avoid leaving your dog confined in the sun for too long.

State Laws on Leaving Pets Unattended in Vehicles

Twenty-five states have laws prohibiting pet owners from leaving animals in the car unattended. The punishments for these crimes vary per state, but they can be quite severe. In California, if an animal is left in a car and suffers bodily harm, it could result in a $500 fine and imprisonment for up to 6 months. Most of these states will press charges for any animal that is left inside the car, while a few will only prosecute for dogs and cats.

In conclusion, it is imperative that you do not leave pets in the car on hot days—or even moderate days. If you find a pet left inside of a hot car, you will want to contact the local authorities and get the animal to a vet. He or she may suffer from suffocation, heatstroke, or a host of other complications.

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