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Wow, that is one HOT ride!
July 9, 2007 - Amy Jo Hanna-Eckenrode
Tuesday's forecast: Blazing heat.
I know how tempted you are to take your fur babies along even when you plan on just running a few short errands. I’ve learned though, that in this heat, you’re showing more love by leaving them at home in the air conditioning.
I remember leaving the shopping mall one hot, summer day. It was several years ago but it still haunts me. I was heading for my car when I passed a small station wagon. Inside was a small dog looking out the window waiting for its owner. Every window was shut tight. Not even a crack. I about went insane. My first though was to smash the window. My second thought was to smash the owner. I've learned to count to 10 in order to arrive at a more legally acceptable solution. I was just about to call the Animal Control Officers at the Central PA Humane Society when the owner, a little old man, shuffled towards the car. Normally, I'd have spoken up but I found myself so worked up that I couldn't even approach him. To this day I could kick myself for not approaching him or reporting him.
Now, I’m not very good with numbers. They confuse me. However, the following are some that we all need to know and share:
It only takes 10 minutes on an 85-degree day for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees Fahrenheit, even if the windows have been left open. Within 30 minutes, the interior can reach 120 degrees—and even when the temperature is a pleasant 70 degrees, the inside of your car may be as much as 20 degrees hotter than the air outside.
Parking in the shade offers little protection. The sun is constantly shifting throughout the day. Young, elderly, or overweight pets are particularly at risk of overheating (hyperthermia), as are those with thick or dark-colored coats, and breeds with short muzzles (ie Pugs, Bulldogs, etc).
Add humidity to an already hot day and you’ve got a potentially lethal situation. Because dogs and cats only sweat through their pads and paws and rely on panting to get rid of excess body heat, their body cannot properly regulate their internal temperature when it’s humid.
You can get your very own personal Petcast from The Weather Channel. They have a very cool site dedicated to caring for your pet. Simply put in the size, age, hair length and location of your dog and they’ll give you a personalized forecast with temperature, a dog comfort index (based on a 1-5 paws rating), best times to walk your dog, mosquito activity, etc.
If you encounter a locked car with an animal inside on a sweltering day, don't hesitate. I will never again think twice about notifying the Humane Officers from the Central PA Humane Society. They are wonderful, caring individuals who are completely overworked and understaffed but dedicated to the welfare of animals. They are programmed into my cell: 814-942-3780. Don't be alarmed if you get a recording and are asked to leave a message. They are usually on a call. Leave your name and number (don't make them guess) and they will get in touch with you as soon as they can. They will need as many details as possible to assist the animal in need.