It’s that time of year again! DO NOT leave your pet unattended in a parked car. On a warm day, the temperature in your car can exceed 120 °F (49 °C) in a matter of minutes, even with the windows partially open. Your pet can quickly suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke or suffocation.
If Your Pet Is Exposed to High Temperatures:
- Look for signs of heat stress — heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue.
- Move him/her to a cooler area immediately and take these emergency steps: (1) Gradually lower body temperature by applying cool (NOT cold) water over their entire body, or soak them in a cool bath. (2) Place cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, armpits and groin area. You may also wet the ear flaps and paws with cool water. Direct a fan at the wet areas to induce evaporative cooling. (3) Offer fresh, cool water if your pet is alert and wants to drink. DO NOT force your pet to drink.
- Take your pet to a veterinarian immediately — it may save their life. Call ahead to make sure your veterinarian is available (if possible).
If You See a Pet In a Car Exhibiting Signs of Heat Stress:
- Write down the vehicle’s license plate number. You may want to enter the nearest store (or the store the owner has gone into based on the parking lot it’s parked in) and request an announcement to be made concerning a pet left in a hot car.
- Call your local animal control or police department, give them the location of the vehicle, and its license plate number.
- Wait by the vehicle for animal control or police to arrive.
Heat stress is not the only danger your pet faces when left alone in a car. Many pets are stolen each year from unattended cars.
Many pets prefer to stay home, but if you must take your pet with you in your car, do so safely: Cats should ride in pet carriers, and dogs should ride in a crate or wear a safety harness. When a pet travels, he or she should wear 2 ID tags — one with a home address and one with a destination address.