The Star-Herald

Pets and hot cars don’t mix

It is so unusual to be experiencing 80s and into the 90s this past week. We have all been waiting for summer, and it is finally here. The grass is getting green, the trees are budding and the birds are singing.  Time to get out and walk our dogs. Exercise is great for them and for us, too.  

Even though there are many of us who truly love the warm temperatures, it never fails to bring concerns about the pets in our lives whose owners are sometimes careless about traveling with their furry family members.

Some of us like to take our animals with us in our vehicles when we go to town to run an errand or two. This is the time of year when it is not good to leave an animal in a car for any period of time.  The inside of a closed-up car can reach deadly temperatures, even with the windows part way down.   You may mean well by taking the animal with you; you’re only going to be a minute inside the store, just long enough to pick up bread and milk.  But, what happens if you get in the store and it is busy and you’re 20 minutes before you get back to your car?  Perhaps you meet an old friend or relative you haven’t seen in a long time and, before you know it, an hour has gone by and the animal is still in the hot car.  

Even when parked in the shade, an animal can succumb to heatstroke or even death left unattended.  If you have ever parked outside, you know that your car will heat up quickly.  Heat coming through the windows is absorbed by the interior and the glass acts as an insulator.  The temperature in your car can get up to 200 degrees depending on the temp outside and the kind of vehicle you have and also how long it has been in the sun. 

Typically they will be quiet as heat overcomes them so there won’t be barking and wining to alert that they are in trouble.  Cracking a window doesn’t help. It doesn’t prevent the temp in the car from rising.  Leaving an animal in a car is dangerous, deadly and illegal.  

Signs of heat stroke include: Body temperatures of 104-110 degrees F, excessive panting, dark or bright red tongue and gums, staggering, stupor, seizures, bloody diarrhea or vomiting and coma, and of course, death.   

If you suspect heat stroke in your pet, seek veterinary attention immediately. Use cool water, not ice water, to cool your pet.  The best advice is to leave your beloved pet home in a cool place with lots of fresh water.  More information and tips are at vetmedicine.about.com.

We are still under the COVID-19 restrictions, but you can check out the Central Aroostook Humane Society Facebook page to see what animals are up for adoption. We are located at 24 Cross Street, Presque Isle. 

Please be responsible: spay/neuter your pets.

Gail Wieder is a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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