Washington Humane Society Urges Public Not to Leave Dogs in Cars
Washington, DC (June 16, 2014) – With temperatures in the high 80s and 90s right now, a heat wave can be lethal to companion animals, particularly dogs left in cars.
Each year dogs will die because they have been left in hot cars while their owners go off to do errands. The Washington Humane Society (WHS) is urging the public to be responsible and not travel with pets, unless absolutely necessary. A dog’s core body temperature is naturally higher than a human’s; they will suffer the effects of the heat much faster. Even if you don’t think it’s too hot outside – it is!
“Owners think it is OK to leave their dog in the car even if they are only running into a store for five minutes, but it’s never OK,” Scott Giacoppo, WHS VP of External Affairs states. “The public needs to be aware that dogs – or any pets – can die of heat exhaustion, and it doesn’t take long for them to become overheated.”
WHS Humane Law Enforcement Officers starting receiving calls regarding dogs left in March, and the call volume is expected to increase throughout the summer. While WHS Officers will respond to each call, this crisis can be easily avoided if pet owners took more responsible action and left pets at home, allowing Officers to dedicate their resources to the myriad of calls received each day.
WHS offers these critical travel tips to keep pets safe in the heat wave:
1. There must be air flow in your vehicle at all times. Keeping windows cracked or leaving water out will not help if the car is not moving, and there is no air flow. Lack of air will kill animals.
2. Dogs with pushed in faces (like Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and Pugs) are particularly at risk. These types of dogs generally have more difficulty breathing, but all pet guardians should be on alert. Young and old dogs alike are affected differently by being in a hot car.
3. Keep your dog at home. It doesn’t take long for your car to become an oven. Owners might think they are doing the right thing by bringing their pet with them in the car due to separation anxiety, or other factors, but this puts dogs at risk of dying.
4. If you must travel with a pet – prepare. Before you get in, roll down the windows and put the air conditioner on to get the air circulating.
If you see a dog alone in car, immediately notify the Washington Humane Society Humane at (202) 576-6664 or (202) 723-5730. You can also call 911.
With summer season upon us, don’t let sightseeing trips or errands turn deadly. If you see a pet owner leaving their dog in the car unattended, express your concern.
Signs of over-heating in animals include loud, rapid panting, rapid pulse, glazed eyes, excessive salivation, elevated body temperature, excessive whining or agitation, staring, vomiting and white or bluish gums. Pets can be cooled immediately by placing them in the shade and sponging them with cool water, especially on the head, feet and groin area. If you believe your pet is suffering from heat exhaustion, contact your veterinarian immediately—it could save your pet’s life.