Dogs in cars

By Deb Young

A few weeks ago, I went to make a quick stop at the pharmacy by the Burlington Coat Factory in Worcester. When I got out of my car, I heared muffled cries coming for the car I parked next to, I had to check it out. There was a little white fluffy dog with full body harness already in a state of distress, pawing at the windows , heavy panting and crying as loud as his voice would let him.

I took out my cell phone and snapped a photo of the dog and the license plate of the car and at that point a woman who had been watching me stated “ What are you doing, the window is down?”

Three windows in the car were all the way up, the passenger side window wasn’t down enough to fit your pinky in, the dog was in the back suffering.

I informed the woman at the time if she wasn’t going to help then please mind her business because the dog is already in distress.

Walking into the grocery store and dialing the police, I gave the manager her plate number and they immediately called over the loud speaker for the owner.
Not knowing who she was, she ended up walking right by us and got into her car and took off. More then likely just go to the next store and do the same thing.
The police were given her plate number and make and model of car.

What else could I have done?

Already in 2013, several cases of dogs being left behind in hot cars have made the headlines
Dogs are especially vulnerable to heat-related illness because they can only cool off by panting and through the pads in their feet.

When it was 72 degrees outside, a car’s internal temperature climbes to 116 degrees within one hour, When it is 80 degrees outside, the temp inside car rises to 99 degrees in 10 minutes and 109 degrees in 20 minutes.

A dog’s normal body temperature is between 101 to 102.5 degrees; a dog can only withstand a high body temperature for a short time before suffering irreversible nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage or even death.
Studies show that cracking the windows has little effect on a vehicle’s internal temperature.

The shape of an animal’s nasal passages can contribute to an animal’s tendency to overheat. Brachiocephalic (pug-nosed) dogs are more prone to heatstroke because their nasal passages are smaller and it’s more difficult for them to circulate sufficient air for cooling. Overweight dogs are also more prone to overheating because their extra layers of fat act as insulation, which traps heat in their bodies and restricts their breathing capabilities. Age can also be a factor in an animal’s tendency to overheat–very young animals may not have a fully developed temperature regulating system, and older pets’ organ systems may not be functioning at 100 percent, leaving them prone to heat-related damage.

Even with emergency treatment, heatstroke can be fatal. The best cure is prevention, and Fido and Fluffy are relying on you to keep them out of harm’s way.

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