Well, here we are; the first complete day of summer. What a great time of year. Today's blog is kind of like those news stories that you can count on every year. When the 4th of July comes there is always a news story about safety with fireworks. When it's Christmas you can count on a story about being safe with your Christmas tree. New Year's; a story about cooking ham. This one is about idiots (and I hope you're not one) who leave their dogs in a car for way to long with too little shade or air.

How often have you seen a dog left in a vehicle with the window barely cracked? You look inside and there is no water for the dog and the dog(s) seem to be suffering. To top things off the dogs guardian did not even park in the shade and the sun is beating down on the car! You look around and don't see anyone and you are left wondering what to do.

I believe (I have to) that most of the time when we find dogs left in this situation there was a mistake made. I think most often people don't expect to be gone as long as they really end up being. They think they will just run into the store, friends house, etc, for "just a few minutes" that ends up being much longer. The think that "cracking the windows open" will somehow provide needed relief from the heat. Memorize this, IT WILL NOT! It is never alright to leave a dog in a hot car for even a few minutes. You never know what might happen and the dog could end up getting left in the car much longer than intended. Talk to any veterinarian and ask them how often they have to treat dogs from being overheated in the car. No one MEANS to have it happen but often a person arrives back at the car to find their dog overheated; sometimes to the point of heat stroke. Heat stoke can happen quickly and often it is too late to save the dog.

Heat stoke is caused by the body rising to a very high body temperature. For dogs it is a rectal temperature of 105 degrees F or higher. It will affect the nervous system and symptoms may include weakness, lethargy, collapse and possibly the dog will go into a coma.

Dogs left in cars on hot summer days is the most common reason that dogs succumb to heat stroke.

A dog will normally dissipate heat from their skin and by panting. Panting allows evaporation of water from a dogs respiratory tract and is a very effective way to dissipate heat. A dogs ability to dissipate heat is dramatically altered, and overwhelmed, when a dog is overheated. Usually heat stoke will develop.

Treatment for heat stoke is difficult and even with treatment many dogs do not make it. When you see a dog left in a car on a hot day what should you do? Ignore it? I guess if your concience will allow you to do that you probably have not read this far so I don't need to address you. If you have read this far it is because you care and that care is sometimes a dogs only hope that the situation will get better.

The reality is that a dog can die in just a few minutes if left in a very hot vehicle. The dog needs help. Call animal control or the humane society in your area. Inform them as to what is going on and ask for a recommendation. Leaving a dog in a hot car is pet abuse. Plain and simple.

During hot weather NEVER leave a dog in a car even with the windows cracked open. Not for any reason. Not for any length of time.

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