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Keep pets safe in this extreme heat

Have a hard time dealing with the sudden oppressive heat after getting into your parked car over the past few days? You immediately either rolled down all the windows completely or cranked the air conditioning as high as it would go, didn’t you?

Now, think about those few moments of discomfort and imagine how much worse it is for animals that are left in parked cars for an extended period of time on days like these.

“A parked car can become an oven under the sun, even in mild temperatures,” said Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “When it’s a comfortable 70 degrees outside, the inside of a vehicle can climb to almost 90 degrees after only 10 minutes and creep into triple-digit temperatures after half an hour.”

And, according to Ganzert, simply cracking the windows in the car “doesn’t have a significant effect on how quickly the temperature rises.”

Dogs do not sweat, or otherwise regulate their body temperatures in the same way humans can. Being stuck in a hot car can kill them.

Meanwhile, it’s a challenge to properly get your dog out and about on the pavement this time of year, too. On hot, sunny days, asphalt and concrete can get so hot it burns their paws when they walk. A good rule of thumb is if the temperature is above 80 degrees — particularly if the sun has been beating down all day — the pavement may be too hot for a dog to safely walk on.

Again, put yourself in their place. If you’re wondering whether your dog should be walking on a surface, put your hand down and notice just how hot and painful that stuff can get. Stick to grassier areas instead.

If your animals tend to spend a lot of time outside, make sure they have shade and plenty of water … and consider bringing them inside.

They can’t step into the air conditioning, pour a glass of ice water and flop onto the couch to relax in comfort like we can.

Responsible pet owners know it’s important to check up on the needs of our pets at all times, but extreme cold or extreme heat can make that need even more urgent. Keep an eye on them. Keep them safe, cool and comfortable.

Oh, and one more thing, as Ganzert reminds us, “If you see a distressed animal inside a parked car, call your local animal control or law enforcement immediately — you could save a life.”

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