As the summer comes around, the heat and humidity will come with it. For most this means going to the beach, taking vacations, and bringing your dog along with you. Unfortunately, this is also the time of year that we begin to see news stories of animals left in steaming hot vehicles. They’re either rescued by police and concerned citizens or don’t make it out alive.
Cracking a Window Won’t Work
No matter what the temperature looks like outside, the inside of your car can be anywhere from 20 to 50 degrees higher depending on shade and levels of humidity. Now, imagine putting on a fall sweater, and layering it with a winter coat while sitting in 100-degree heat. This is what a dog experiences, even if you leave the windows down.
Heat Can Permanently Damage Your Dog’s Health
After 10 to 15 minutes, your pet will experience serious discomfort. They’ll be at high risk for heat stroke which can result in a plethora of major health problems. They can become blind, deaf, experience permanent brain damage, vomiting, diarrhea, and copious amounts of blood clotting. Although it only takes a few minutes for them to begin experiencing these symptoms, dogs can suffer for 1 to 10 hours before they eventually succumb to the heat. As pet owners, we love our dogs and we want them by our side, but there are times when the safest option is to leave them at home.
If You See Something, Say Something!
Sadly, some dogs are intentionally left behind when people don’t want them anymore. Even though laws have been changed to protect animals from these awful situations, we will inevitably hear about them on the news anyway. One day, you might eventually be confronted with the decision of what to do when you see a dog left in a car. If this happens you must remember to never leave the animal behind, if you don’t help them now there’s a chance that no one will.
Gather Information and Contact the Authorities
Record all the descriptive information for the vehicle, make, model, color, year, and any details like dents and scratches that will help identify the car later if necessary. As you do this, you should also be calling your local Animal Control and Police Department; stay at the scene and do not leave the animal alone. If the window is lowered enough and the dog does not show any sign of aggression, you may also be able to reach in to provide water.
See If the State You’re In Has a “Good Samaritan” Law
If the situation becomes dire and the authorities aren’t able to arrive quickly enough, some states allow you to take matters into your own hands. California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, and Tennessee have all made it legal for concerned citizens to breaking a window in order to save a suffering pet. If you’ve already done all you can, followed the steps above, you have legally followed the rules and are clear to break a window if there is no time left.
Try to crack the glass, and push it out with a blunt object rather than shattering it. Break a window that is to the opposite side of the car that the dog is on to avoid cutting them or yourself in the process.
Keep Them Comfortable Until Help Arrives
Once you’ve carefully removed them from the vehicle, put the animal in an air-conditioned area. Do not place them in ice or extremely cold water as this can result in shock. Provide CPR if the animal is not breathing, and pay attention to signs of physical distress in their body. Once Animal Control arrives with police, they’ll be able to take it from there.