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Hot Diggity Dog

Sizzling, burning, feverish, fiery, sweltering, torrid, blazing, scorching, blistering, sultry, sweltering, roasting, cooking. Am I describing the shades of gray or the shades of summer? I am actually talking about what it feels like inside of a hot car. As dogs can’t talk – I will do the talking for them. Do not leave them in your car in the summertime. Period. Here is why:

It takes only minutes for a pet left in a vehicle on a warm day to succumb to heatstroke and suffocation. Most people don't realize how hot it can get in a parked car on a balmy day. However, on a 78 degree day, temperatures in a car parked in the shade can exceed 90 degrees -- and hit a scorching 160 degrees if parked in the sun (in 30 minutes or less)!

Even when the outside air temperature is in the 60s, temperatures inside some vehicles can reach the danger zone on bright, sunny days. Rolling down a window or parking in the shade doesn't guarantee protection either, since temperatures can still climb into the danger zone. So Second Chance and I recommend not leaving pets in parked cars even for short periods if temperatures are 60s or higher.

Still not getting it? Well, animals are not able to sweat like humans do. They cool off by panting and sweating through their paws. With only overheated air to breathe, they can collapse, suffer brain damage and possibly die of heatstroke. Just 15 minutes can be enough for an animal's body temperature to climb from a normal 102.5 to deadly levels that will damage their nervous and cardiovascular systems, often leaving an animal comatose, dehydrated and at risk of permanent impairment or death.

Because not everyone fully grasps the severity of this, animal welfare organizations like Second Chance Humane Society advise witnesses to report an animal left in a hot car to law enforcement by dialing 911. Do not try to release the animal yourself as the animal, or the owner, may react negatively to such efforts. Write down a description of the dog, the car, the license plate and note the time you first noticed the animal in this dangerous situation. All this information will be helpful to law enforcement personnel when they arrive.

Heatstroke is one of the summer’s most frequent canine afflictions and one of the most lethal! Symptoms are not always be visible right away but they might include: vigorous panting, unsteady gait, lethargy or agitation, thick saliva or froth at the mouth, rigid posture, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, collapsing and signs of shock.

There are two options for preventing these real danger to your dog in the summer: 1) Leave your dog at home (if leaving them in the car is the only option). 2) Get a cat instead of a dog. Cats are smart. We like to stay home and laze about in the cool house or under a cool bush in the summertime. We don’t want to ride in cars in the first place. Only crazy dogs like going for car rides. Cars are stupid. Why would you ever want to get in one of those and leave home anyway?

Be smart. Adopt a cat like me. My name is Beau and I am a six year young black and white medium hair cat. I am a 14 pound gentle giant who enjoys my independence but also, once I get to know you, will let you rub my tummy. Although I am learning to tolerate other cats and dogs you really don’t need them. You only need me. (Ha, and you thought I was writing about not leaving your dogs in hot cars…)

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet or to learn about adopting a homeless pet and the SCHS spay/neuter, volunteer, feral cat or other programs. View our shelter pets and services at adoptmountainpets.org.

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