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Dogs Days Are Still Here PDF Print E-mail
Written by Janet Goodman, BT Contributor   
September 2019

Your pets need protection from the heat and sun

Rbigstock-Silver-Labrador-Retrievers--S-256409524ecently, a well-respected dog trainer who works pro bono for local rescue groups posted a brave and powerful message on social media about the worst day of her life.

She forgot about her two dogs in the back seat of the car. It was a steamy July afternoon. One dog died immediately; the other was rushed to a vet hospital. If this kind of tragedy could happen to an experienced animal handler, it could happen to any one of us.

Here’s her devastating post:

“I am about to share with you the most difficult thing I will ever share. I will likely go off Facebook for a while, because the pain is unbearable.

“I want you to read this post and know you are not exempt from something like this happening to you.

“Every time I have judged another person for forgetting their dog in a car, I have thought I could NEVER not in a million years forget my dogs in a car.

“I have known many clients throughout the years who have suffered the loss of a dog because a dog was accidentally left in a hot car. It is heartbreaking and it is infuriating. How could they be so negligent?

“Today I forgot my dogs in my car. I did. Me.

“One dog is dead. My other dog is fighting for his life.

“I will never forgive myself.”

That same week, clients of mine let their dog hang out on the pool patio while the family swam in the afternoon. The dog got third-degree burns on every single pad on all four paws. Walking a dog on hot concrete or asphalt can also be dangerous. According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), on an 87-degree day, asphalt temperatures can reach 140 degrees.

Sunburn, dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke are realistic outcomes if we have our dogs outside for any length of time on a hot day. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (England and Wales) reports that from 2009 to 2018, nearly 90 percent of 64,443 reported cases of heat exposure involved dogs left in vehicles.

The RSPCA Australia warns the public that it takes only six minutes for a dog to die in a hot car.

The American Kennel Club and the American Veterinary Medical Association both warn that cracking a car window doesn’t make it safe because a car heats up almost as fast as when windows are rolled up. Even on a 70-degree day, vehicle temperatures can reach 100 degrees in 20 minutes, and much hotter over longer periods of time. Heat exhaustion, followed by often fatal heatstroke, can occur quickly.

Heart rate will go up and panting will increase, causing the dog to lose fluid. Its lack of the ability to sweat will increase its body temperature, and bodily functions will start to break down. The heart, kidneys, and brain will begin to fail, internal bleeding occurs, blood pressure drops, and collapse and shock follow.

Exercise in hot temperatures can lead to the same symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke: rapid panting, diarrhea, vomiting, bright red gums, loss of balance, and confusion. Short-snouted dogs and cats (pugs, bulldogs, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, and Himalayan and Persian cats) are vulnerable, as are senior, overweight, and dark-furred pets.

According to the “Table of State Laws that Protect Animals Left in Parked Vehicles” published by the Animal Legal and Historical Center of Michigan State University College of Law, as of 2019, “31 U.S. states have laws that either prohibit leaving an animal in a confined vehicle under dangerous conditions or provide civil immunity for a person who rescues a distressed animal from a vehicle.”

Even without a state or local law, leaving a pet in a hot car could still be deemed cruelty. Florida law protects “hot dog” rescuers in certain circumstances.


Pet Safety Tips for Hot Days


• Use non-toxic sunscreen (a baby-approved product containing no zinc oxide and no PABA).
• Keep your pet hydrated. Give him water before, during, and after outdoor activity.
• Use beeswax products like Baely’s Paw Shield to help prevent paw pad burns.
• Roll ice cubes into a neck bandana for your dog.
• Never intentionally leave pets in the car. Put your purse, wallet, or cellphone in the back seat with the pets to ensure you’ll remember the animals back there. Planning a shopping day on the town? Leave the pets at home in air conditioning.
• Walk more on grass and less on paved surfaces. Stay in the shade.
• In the back yard, remain outside with dogs while they pee and poop. Stay focused; don’t get distracted on the phone. Bring them right back inside.

 

Janet Goodman is a Miami Shores-based dog trainer and principal of Good Dog Bad Dog Inc. Contact her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

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