The dangers of leaving animals in a closed vehicle on a hot day have been widely publicised to pet owners. However, after two little dogs were left in their owner’s car last Friday evening, a day of record high temperatures, we thought it was worth reminding people once again of the dangerous and often fatal consequences of doing this.
At 6pm on Friday, 5 January it was still 40 degrees in Melbourne and the temperature did not dip below 35 degrees before midnight. It is therefore beyond belief why anyone, on such an oppressively hot night, would choose to leave their two dogs locked in their car while they ate at a restaurant close by.
Fortunately a concerned passer-by saw the distressed dogs, called police and they were soon freed from the car. The police then contacted The Lost Dogs’ Home and one of our Ambulance Drivers quickly collected the two dogs and took them straight to Essendon Animal Accident and Emergency centre for immediate first-aid. The pair were very lucky, only requiring rehydration and monitoring over night before they were released to the Home again the next morning.
The Home’s veterinary staff continued to monitor their progress as well as microchipping and registering them on behalf of the owners. After a meeting with the Home’s senior veterinarian, the owners were able to take their two little dogs home, however police are looking into laying charges against them.
While we think most pet owners understand the dangers, they perhaps don’t realise just how quickly a dog can suffer severe heat exhaustion or death in a car in hot weather. We want to remind pet owners not to be complacent and realise that leaving a pet even for a quick trip to the supermarket or bite to eat is dangerous. Cars that are cooled because of air-conditioning may seem safe, but heat up within minutes once turned off and become a death trap for your pet.
Dogs regulate their body heat through panting and rely on drinking water to help keep themselves cool. When they are locked in a hot car, they are not able to regulate their body temperature through panting as the air around them is too warm. Leaving the windows ajar and parking in the shade has little effect in keeping a locked car cool enough for a pet – it can only take six minutes or less for an animal to suffer severe heat exhaustion in a car and die.
Utes also can be dangerous- left in the sun, without water and surrounded by heated metal can cause a dog tied up in the back, great distress and at worst heat exhaustion and death.
We implore people to think twice before taking their pet with them in a vehicle on a hot day, closely consider if they really need to travel with you or whether they would be better off left at home with fresh, cool water and plenty of shade.
No outing is worth putting your pet through the agony of a heat related death and a life time of heartache for you.