Home Opinion Editorials Don’t leave pets in cars (kids either) on hot days
Don’t leave pets in cars (kids either) on hot days
We love our pets. We love the mobile furballs, ankle biters, you name
it. Oregon is second in the nation behind Maine in cat ownership and
fourth in the nation behind Idaho, Wyoming and Montana in dog ownership.
But for all that love, some pet owners occasionally make boneheaded decisions — like taking a dog or cat along on a summer trip, and running into a store “for only a few minutes.” Such a move can be fatal.
It takes just a short time for a dog or cat to get into distress. Even with the windows partly open, a parked car acts like a bake oven. In a rather comfortable 72-degree heat, the inside of a parked car can reach 116 degrees in an hour. That’s Death Valley heat. And it can be fatal. Because they have no sweat glands, dogs and cats are especially vulnerable. After a short time in a hot car, they can suffer heat stroke, heat exhaustion, brain damage and even death.
Owners should be especially careful with the types of pets that are the most vulnerable to heat exhaustion. The list is a long one. These include black dogs and cats, pets that are overweight, and young and old pets. Keep a special close eye on puppies younger than 6 months old or large breed dogs older than 7 or small breed dogs older than 14. Also vulnerable are pets that are sick or on medication and dogs with short, wide heads like pugs and Boston terriers.
How can you tell when your pet is getting into trouble? Look for hard panting, or sluggish or unresponsive behavior. If you see such signs, get help quickly.
If you see a dog or cat in a car during hot weather, don’t immediately call the police department. First, check inside the store. If you don’t find the owner there, then call animal control at 963-1017.
The best advice this time of year is to leave your dog or cat at home. Your dog will thank you for it with years of unconditional love. Your cat may not show it in such obvious ways but will also be eternally grateful.