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Hot Summer Weather Puts Pets in Peril

PHOTO: Taking your pet for a ride in the car is one of the joys of summer, but veterinarians caution against leaving a pet unattended in the car, even with the windows cracked. Photo credit: Pippalou / Morguefile.com.
PHOTO: Taking your pet for a ride in the car is one of the joys of summer, but veterinarians caution against leaving a pet unattended in the car, even with the windows cracked. Photo credit: Pippalou / Morguefile.com.
June 24, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa - Dogs left in cars are an all-too-common summertime sight in parking lots, and animal experts say it is both extremely dangerous for animals and could land their owners in hot water.

Courtney Thomas, president and CEO of the Great Plains Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) says animals can suffer heatstroke within minutes as temperatures soar inside a car, even when the car's windows are left partially open.

"The side effects of that heat can ultimately result in the death of the pet," says Thomas. "Other neurological and sometimes permanent situations can arise as well."

Signs of heatstroke in animals can include panting and seizures. Thomas says it's critical to get an overheated animal to the veterinarian as quickly as possible, and cool them down on the way with cold, but not icy, water and compresses.

Thomas also warns the perils for pets may not always seem evident, but they should never be left in a car for any length of time.

"You may park your car in what you believe to be the shade, but by the time you get out of the store your dog or cat may be sitting in direct sunlight," says Thomas. "You wouldn't leave a human child in the car, and pet owners shouldn't do it with their pets, either."

Thomas says it is important to ensure animals have plentiful access to water in the summer months, as their body temperatures naturally run high.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA