Friday, May 10, 2013

Summertime Safety Pt 1: Dogs and Cars

Summer is coming, and we’ll be in search of ways to beat the heat. But don’t forget it’s up to us to keep it cool for our pets.  With fur coats and no sweat glands, dogs can overheat quickly, often with fatal consequences.

While it’s tempting to leave a furry friend in the car while running a quick errand, think again – and don’t do it!  Either leave your buddy at home, or take a friend or family member to wait in the car, keeping an eye on the temperature and perhaps going for a short stroll.  Even leaving windows open a crack won’t provide enough ventilation on a hot day, and curious dogs have been known to get their heads wedged in car windows. They can also escape if the window is open too widely, or even bite people through the crack.

On a 78 degree day, temperatures inside a shaded car can reach 90 degrees - and that shoots up to 160 if the car is in the sun! Most experts recommend that if the air temperature is 60 degrees or more, your pets should stay at home or come into the store with you, if allowed (and that goes for your kids too). Some people try to get around this by leaving the engine and air conditioning running, but this is not fail-safe. If the engine overheats or the air conditioner malfunctions, the animal is in just as much peril as before.

It's also not a great idea to let your dog ride loose in the bed of a pick up truck. The hot metal can scorch the dog's paws, sudden turns or stops can cause it to tumble around and potentially harm itself, and no matter how well trained, any dog might jump out at a stop light or in a parking lot.
This is not going to end well.
Greenville Animal Control officers receive 20 to 30 calls each summer, and will respond quickly to remove a dog from a hot car.  Temperatures can rise to 120 degrees in less than 20 minutes, and officers will break car windows in order to save an animal if the owner cannot be located immediately.  Criminal penalties can include fines and up to six months in jail.

It’s up to all of us to prevent tragedy by keeping our pets out of hot vehicles, and by looking out for those locked up by negligent owners. Call police if you see a dog in distress. Greenville Animal Control can be reached at 252-329-4387, or, in an emergency, 252-329-4300.

This summer, stay safe and enjoy the weather – and make sure your pet does, too!

Originally posted 5/29/12

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