We see it too often - dogs being left in parked vehicles during hot weather - and it makes our blood boil because many times it leads to the death of a dog. Just look at some of these recent headlines.
Pensacola News Journal (June 30, 2014): Crestview woman charged with animal cruelty after dog dies in hot car. Cassaundra Rasmussen, 49, was charged with leaving her dog, Waldo, unattended in a motor vehicle in the parking lot of Walmart on June 27. The dog died from symptoms consistent with heat exhaustion as a result of the high temperatures in the vehicle. Rasmussen left the driver side window partially down; however, the temperatures continued to increase in the vehicle which resulted in the dog's death. There was no food or water available for the dog.
Newsday (June 25, 2014): Kassof charged with animal cruelty after dog dies in hot car. Ian Kassof, 36, had adopted Fluffy, a pit bull/boxer mix, from the Town of Hempstead animal shelter. Nassau police found the dead animal after answering a call about a dog locked inside a parked Acura. One car window was open about 4 inches, and there was no water bowl in the vehicle, where Kassof allegedly left the animal after going to his job. The misdemeanor offense could mean up to a year in jail if he is convicted.
According to the Animal Protection Institute, when it is 85 degrees out, the temperature inside a car - even with the windows slightly open -?can reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes and 120 degrees in 30 minutes. It's even more dangerous when it's hotter outside.
The ASPCA offers safety tips for pets in the summertime, when temperatures can create potentially deadly situations for our furry friends.
1. No Parking! Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. "On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time-even with the windows open-which could lead to fatal heat stroke," says Dr. Louise Murray, vice president of the ASPCA Animal Hospital. Also, leaving pets unattended in cars in extreme weather is illegal in several states.
2. Made in the Shade. Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it's hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it's extremely hot.
3. Know the Warning Signs. Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
4. Street Smarts. When the temperature is very high, don't let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close the ground, your pooch's body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
For more hot-weather pet tips, visit the ASPCA online at www.aspca.org.