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Why You Should Never Leave A Dog In Your Hot Car (Smashing Windows and More…)
It should go without saying, because most responsible people who love their dogs would never leave their dogs in a car - let alone on a hot summer day - but still, it happens all the time.
Several incidents have made the news over the last few days relating to dogs being left in hot cars, with at least one instance being fatal.
Having your pet succumb to irreversible brain damage or worse yet, losing your dog entirely is completely preventable in this case. No matter what precautions you take when leaving your dog in a car, they're simply not enough.
Just a few minutes…
Within just a few minutes of the car being off, the temperature inside the automobile is quickly rising - it can increase by as much as 10 degrees C in 10 minutes.
Check out this experiment conducted by the Animal Protection Institute that explains exactly how hot a car can get. In one case, it was early in the morning and only about 27C outside - but well over 42C inside of the car. The study also shows the very small and insignificant difference cracking two or all four windows makes.
Any time the temperature is this high, we're told to avoid extraneous activity (with our dogs or by ourselves) and keep cool. Kids are kept in at recess. People swarm public pools. Shoppers rush to grab freezies at the grocery store. It is simply too hot, and "just a few minutes" can mean death for a dog in a car.
It only takes 15 minutes for your dog's body temperature to rise enough to leave it with brain damage or cause heat stroke.
What if the air conditioning is on?
Your air conditioning's job is to keep the car's air temperature cool while you're driving. The key phrase being "while you're driving". If your car is parked and the engine begins to overheat, the air conditioner will not work properly. This is a very common occurrence in hot weather when a car is parked, even in newer cars. The air conditioner may begin blowing hot air, like it does when you first start up the car on a hot day.
What should you do when you see a dog in a hot car?
Many concerned bystanders are unsure of what to do when they see a dog in a hot car. Your first step should be to locate the pet parents by observing the area or having security (if you're at a mall or a store) page the person over the loudspeaker. If you can't find the pet parents, call 911 if the dog is panting or appears to be in distress. In many cities, the pet parents will face fines and charges once the police show up.
If the dog doesn't seem to be in distress and you've got some time to spare, consider hanging back and staying with the car to keep an eye on the dog. When the pet parent returns, educate them on their mistake.
Another thing that isn't clear is how much trouble you would be in if you smashed the window to save the dog. Someone asked this very question after hearing about the most recent dog death in the GTA, and you can see the police response here.
In short, it's up to you if you want to smash the window but you could be charged with a crime. This is something you'll need to bear in mind if you decide to do it. However, if you call the police you should be able to expect them within one or two minutes and they can take it from there.