As a veterinarian in Idaho Falls we have noticed an increase with pets being left in a hot car during the summer months so we would like to share some information that may potentially save a life. Each year many well-meaning pet owners take advantage of the warm summer months by bringing their pets with them virtually everywhere they go. But pet owners should be aware that dogs and cats have a body temperature that is several degrees higher than ours, and with their coats, they are unable to sweat and cool off like we do.
You wouldn’t lock yourself in a sauna – don’t lock your pet in a car.
Temperatures inside a car – even with the windows rolled down – can transform the inside of a car into an oven. It can take as little as 10 minutes for an animal to suffer brain damage or die in a hot car!
The best place for your pet on a hot day is inside your home, where they have access to plenty of fresh water and a cool place to sleep.
Signs: Signs that an animal may be suffering from the heat include:
- Heavy panting;
- Difficulty breathing;
- Lack of coordination;
If the pet’s temperature continues to escalate, the animal will ultimately go into a coma and die.
Treatment: Animals suffering from the heat can be cooled down and helped by the following.
- Remove the animal from the hot car.
- Apply cool water to their skin by spraying him/her with water or immersing the animal up to their head in water.
- Allow the animal to rest in a cool place with small amounts of cold water to drink.
- Seek immediate veterinary attention.
Prevention: You can significantly reduce the chances of your pet suffering from the heat by doing the following:
- Don’t leave pets in a parked vehicle during warm weather;
- Don’t leave pets unsupervised outside on warm days;
- Ensure that pets always have access to plenty of clean, fresh water;
- Keep them in safe areas where they have adequate ventilation;
- Don’t allow your pets to overexert themselves.
What should you do if you find a pet left in a hot car?
If the owner can’t be found, call the local police or animal control and wait by the car for them to arrive. In several states good Samaritans can legally remove animals from cars under certain circumstances, so be sure to know the laws in your area and follow any steps required.
Please keep your pets safe this summer. If you do see an animal in distress, call our veterinarian in Idaho Falls office immediately and bring him or her in as soon as possible!