Last week’s Police Tip of the Week focused on the dangers of leaving children in hot cars, this week, we will discuss dangers of leaving animals in hot cars. Sadly, many pet owners are unaware of the dangers of leaving their pet in their vehicle, even for “just a minute.”
Each year, pet lovers around the nation are hit by tragedy when they leave their animals, usually dogs, in their vehicle and lose track of time. Well-meaning pet owners who like seeing their pet enjoy a car ride often stop to run errands during the ride, leaving their pet behind. It is easy to lose track of time while shopping, meanwhile, pets can be suffering while their owners are preoccupied with errands that are taking longer than expected.
Animals do not perspire like humans. Their only form of cooling themselves is through panting. Even on a pleasant day outside, a dog can suffer brain damage and die from heatstroke in under 15 minutes. If the outside temperature is 70 degrees, the interior temperature of a vehicle increases by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. On a 90-degree day, the temperature inside a vehicle can become deadly in just 7-8 minutes and our temperatures in Arizona throughout the summer are even higher, which worsens the situation. As time passes, the chance of an animal surviving goes down exponentially.
Think twice before bringing your pet with you on errands. If the trip does not involve the pet, leave the pet at home. If you do bring your pet, bring reminders like a leash or pet toy in your passenger seat to remind you that you have a pet with you. You can also leave a purse, wallet or other personal belonging near your pet so that you are sure to see your pet when you retrieve your item.
If you see a pet inside a vehicle and the pet appears to be in distress, is heavily panting, lethargic or lacks coordination, call the Peoria Police Department Animal Control through dispatch at 623-773-8311.