Dogs and VehiclesPublished March 3, 2009
It's a nice warm day, and you and your beagle friend Bert are headed off to the beach. But first, you need to stop to pick up some gas and groceries, and while you're in the store you run into an old friend. Before you know it, Bert could be suffering or even dead. Every year, as the weather gets warm, animal rescue organizations spread the word: Don't leave your dog in a hot car. And every year, dog-in-car deaths make up a depressing number of animal abuse stories. A car (or truck or van) can act like a greenhouse, trapping heat. Even with the windows slightly open, the temperature inside a car can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit in half an hour, while the air outside the car remains at 85. Even leaving the dog in the car "just for a minute" can be harmful. When there's the slightest doubt, leave your dog at home, with plenty of water and a place to rest in the shade. If you see a dog in a parked car on a hot day, particularly if it is panting or acting restless, try to find the owner (perhaps by having him or her paged in a store) or call police. In hot weather, also avoid forcing your dog to walk on hot pavement (choose shady, grassy routes instead). Never let a dog ride in the bed of a pickup truck, which is dangerous at any time, but in summer carries the additional risk of burning its paw pads on hot metal.