With summer weather approaching, Talbot Humane is reminding pet owners that leaving a pet in a parked car on a warm day can be deadly.
Temperatures inside cars can climb to over 120 degrees in minutes, even with windows left partially open. Surface temperatures of seats and dashboards can exceed 180 degrees. Pets may suffer brain damage or die from heat stroke.
“A hot parked car is a deathtrap,” emphasized Talbot Humane Executive Director Brian Metcalf. “Your pet feels heat a lot worse than you do. Imagine a typical 80-degree day with high humidity. How would you feel if you were wearing a fur coat on a day like that, trapped in a parked car with the temperature soaring?”
Signs of heat stress in a pet include labored breathing, wheezing and a rapid pulse. The animal’s eyes may seem glazed and its tongue a bright red or purple. It may be vomiting or have an unsteady, staggering gait.
Metcalf explained that if a pet becomes overheated, one must immediately attempt to lower its body temperature. He recommended moving the pet into the shade and applying cool, but not cold, water all over its body to gradually bring its body temperature down.
“You can apply ice packs or cold towels to the pet’s head, neck and chest only,” he added. “Let your pet drink small amounts of cool water and lick ice cubes. Then take your pet to a veterinarian immediately. It could save its life.”
Metcalf encouraged anyone seeing an animal in a car exhibiting signs of heat stress to call the local animal control agency or police department right away. He noted that a person may not leave a cat or dog unattended in a standing or parked motor vehicle in a manner that endangers the health or safety of the animal. Anyone found in violation may be charged with animal cruelty.
“This is the time of year when we all like to take our pets with us for some summer fun,” Metcalf said. “Sadly, those few minutes we leave them in the car to run into a store too often turns into a deadly mistake.
“Save your pet’s life,” he urged. “Leave it at home.”
For more information, to make a contribution, or to volunteer, call Talbot Humane at 410-822-0107 or visit www.talbothumane.org.