Heat waves have struck many parts of the country over the past couple of weeks and consequently, there have been a rising number of reports involving dogs suffering and even dying of heatstroke as a result of being left alone in parked cars. Leaving a dog, or any pet for that matter, abandoned in a car on a hot summer day, even for only a few minutes, is considered animal abuse and cruel. Some pet owners believe that leaving the windows of a car cracked open will allow the animal to receive enough air to stay cool but this is a complete misconception.
Aside from the record-breaking temperatures New York and many other parts of the country have seen lately, even a relatively mild temperature such as 85 degrees will allow for the interior of a parked car to reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes! Dogs, unlike humans, do not have the ability to cool their bodies down efficiently by sweating. Instead, dogs cool their bodies down a lot slower and less effectively by panting. Within a very short period of time, a dog with a high body temperature can suffer critical health effects such as damage to the nervous system, heart, liver and brain.
Needless to say, leaving a dog alone in a parked car in warm temperatures is cruel and in as many as 14 states even illegal. If a dog is seen trapped in a parked car you should immediately try to find the car’s owner. If the owner is not found or refuses to comply, contact local law enforcement and/or animal control.
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