Every year when the mercury rises, canine companions are at risk for heatstroke or death when their guardians make the mistake of leaving them in a parked car. Animals can sustain brain damage or even die in as little as 15 minutes. Staying cool is extra tough for dogs because they can only reduce their internal temperature by panting and sweating through their paw pads.
Parked cars are fast-acting deathtraps for dogs: On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in mere minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes.
People visiting, and even some locals, believe it can’t get that hot in the mountains, but it does inside parked cars.
Our best hope for eliminating this tragic trend is to increase awareness, pledge to spread the knowledge and act if we see any animal left alone in an unattended vehicle. Cracking the windows is not adequate ventilation.
If you see a dog left alone in a hot car this summer, take down the car’s color, model, make and license plate number and make every effort to contact the owner (grocery store owners will often gladly page customers to alert pet owners that their pups are in danger) or call the local animal control of whatever county you are in to intervene to save a dog. Each of us must be every dog’s 911.