We have all had our moments when we get into a car that has spent all day parked in the sun. We all know that a child should not be left unattended in a parked car but what about pets? How many times have you seen a dog left in the back seat of a car while the owner has gone shopping or to run some errands? Cars are death traps for dogs and other pets. Various factors come into play when dogs are left in cars and the combination is too dangerous for our furry friends.
1. Fluctuating temperatures
Temperatures in an enclosed car escalate quickly in just a few minutes. When the temperature outside is 34.4 degrees, the inside of the car can skyrocket up to 62.8 degrees! (source: The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)) All cars build up heat and humidity fast. Thus, while your pet will be eagerly looking out the window awaiting your return, the temperature and humidity build up may be fatal.
2. Heat stroke and brain damage
The main reason as to why one should never leave a child inside a car is because of a phenomenon known as heat stroke. Heat stroke is simply the escalation of temperatures above what our bodies can sustain, thus causing fatal organ failures and definite death. Heat stroke is so fatal that it can kill a human being trapped in a heated car in only fifteen minutes. The same scenario or worse applies to pets. The most common pets are dogs and cats. These animals have small bodies and are covered in fur, which traps more heat. Thus, a pet is more susceptible to heat stroke and brain damage than human beings, and the result would be death.
The opposite of heat stroke is freezing. This is something you may encounter while overseas. Quite literally, during winter the air freezes and we need AC to heat up the car and avoid freezing. Just like heat stroke, freezing too is fatal and can cause death in a matter of minutes due to multiple organ failures. In cold weather, cars rapidly cool down; and temperatures drop to near freezing points. In terms of survival, pets with short hair feel cold faster. Pets that have long thick hair are able to keep themselves warm at low temperatures but this may not last for a very long time. Thus, if you leave your pet inside the car on a very cold day, you might find that it may have frozen to death.
4. The law
A recent review of statutes regarding animal care has put in place laws that prohibit the practice of leaving your pet unattended in your car in countries like the USA. It is referred to as animal cruelty if the pet is in extreme danger. The law prohibits leaving pets in a confined vehicle in any type of weather. There have been a startling number of pets dying in their owner’s cars. In the eyes of the law, it falls under the rubric of animal neglect and abuse. These laws provide a glance at the range of situations or circumstances that are considered cruel or abusive to the pets and the different penalties that the violators face. You may be penalized by being given the responsibility to take care of the medical treatment bill of someone’s pet or facing the risk of jail time.
What you should do if you spot an animal struggling in a locked car
If you notice a dog left alone in a car, note the car’s color, model, make and its license plate number. Attempt to locate the owner. If this proves impossible, alert SPCA at 62875355 (extension 9), and/ or the police at 999. As pet owners, we should be responsible for the well-being of our pets. Put ourselves in their furry shoes, and image the agony of being locked up in a car on a sweltering day, with a thick fur cat on.