Keep Pets Out of Parked Cars on Hot Days

According to weather forecasts, we should experience some relief from this heat wave over the weekend. 

And we hate to bring everybody down, but it isn’t even August yet, so we’ll probably experience at least one more of these scorching periods. Given the heat we’ve experienced and the heat we’ve yet to experience, we thought this would be a good time to remind everyone of the dangers hot cars pose to pets.

Even on a relatively cool day, temperatures in parked cars can quickly climb to a level dangerous for pets. Even leaving a car in the shade or rolling down your windows aren’t reliable solutions. Shade won’t necessarily keep a car cool and your pet could escape or bite a stranger through an open window. Animals don’t sweat like people do. Instead, they sweat only through their paws or cool themselves by panting. If they only have hot air to breathe, they can suffer damage to their nervous and cardiovascular systems in just 15 minutes.

Armed with this knowledge, what do you do if you see that someone else left a pet in the car on a hot day? The first thing to do is try to locate the pet’s owner. If you’re in a store parking lot, write down the car’s information and ask the store to page the car owner. If the pet’s owner can’t be located, call the police in favor of animal control. The police department will likely arrive faster and they’ll have the tools to get the pet out of the car. If the animal appears overheated, the quickest ways to help are to cool paws by putting rubbing alcohol on his pads, pour cool water into and across the mouth, and pour cool water over his body.

Unlike many states, Massachusetts does not have a law against leaving an animal in a parked car, but you don’t need a law to do the right thing.

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