Hot cars can lead to hot dogs.
Karen Kolos, Paws Along the River director, said several people this year have left dogs inside parked cars on hot days. Luckily, she said, people notice and are able to get a message to stores or restaurants where staff makes an announcement.
"Leaving air conditioning on is acceptable, but I recommend leaving dogs at home," Kolos said. "That's the safest thing."
Hot as an oven
Dogs like Cloe from Paws Along the River shouldn’t be left in hot cars.
Also, Kolos noted few people would want to leave a car running for the air conditioning to work. Police are adamant about enforcement and charging people with neglect, she said, because it's a life or death situation.
Heat stroke is a real possibility, Kolos said, even when the windows are down. At the end of the day, she said everyone can feel how hot it is inside the car.
Dr. Todd Swanson of Pet Animal Hospital in Jamestown, N.Y., said it is a very short window before a hot car can cause damage to a dog. Usually, he said, it's about five to six minutes.
To treat an overheated dog, Kolos said owners should apply cold, wet rags to their pets. There are many signs of heat stress, she said, such as heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gain, vomiting and a deep red or purple tongue.
When trapped in high temperatures, Kolos said, dogs can suffer brain damage and even die from heat stroke and suffocation. A parked car can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit on a warm day.
According to Pet First Aid from American Red Cross and The Humane Society of the United States, being left in a parked car is the most common cause of heat stroke or hyperthermia in pets.