With summer here, some people enjoy taking their dog on car trips with them. Many people believe that it is okay to leave their dog in the car, as long as a window is cracked. However, the ASPCA reports that this is not so. Your car gets 20% hotter on the inside than the outside temperature. On a day where it is 85°, it only takes 10 minutes for your car to reach 102°. Within 30 minutes, the interior of a car can climb from 85° to a whopping 120°. The Humane Society of the United States says that when you roll down the windows in your car, it has very little effect on how hot it gets inside of the car. Dogs are unable to cool themselves down like people do. Once they get too hot, they risk suffering extensive organ damage and they can even die. Hundreds of pets die each year from heat exhaustion from being left in parked vehicles. This commonly happens when people say that they were just going to be gone for a few minutes and they left their windows cracked. This is why leaving your dog in the car is considered animal cruelty. Brad Dewar with the Ontario SPCA says that an increase in a dog’s body temperature of just 2 or 3 degrees can be fatal for the animal. He explains the seriousness of a hot car when he says, “I’ve done tests to see what we can cook on the dash of a car. In 41 minutes I was able to fully cook 2 hot dogs, get the yolk of an egg firm and start to make the bacon go crispy.” It is best to leave your dog at home when it is warm outside. When you bring your pet along, be sure to have plenty of fresh drinking water for them with a bowl. Don’t think that it is alright to leave your dog in the car with the air conditioning on. The car could overheat and the air conditioning may stop working. Also be aware that it is not a good idea to leave your dog inside the bed of your truck. The sun beats down on the metal, making it too hot for your dog’s paws. If you have to suddenly apply your brakes, your dog can be thrown out of the back of your truck. Your dog may even decide to jump out if he sees something that interests him. It is a better idea to put your dog in a crate. If you take your dog along and it seems he has gotten too hot, there is something you can do to help. First, look for signs of heat exhaustion. If your dog is very thirsty, is panting heavily, or acts either agitated or sluggish, these are some signs. If he has a dark tongue, glazed eyes, or a lack of coordination, these are more signs of it. Take the dog to a shady spot or in air conditioning as soon as possible. Give water to your dog to drink right away. Put an ice pack or cool towel on their head or put them in a tub of cool water. If it seems serious, take him to a veterinarian right away. If your dog is overweight, very young or old, has a short muzzle or thick or dark colored coat, he or she has a greater risk of getting too hot. When you take your pet out, also think of the humidity in the air. Dr. Barry Kellogg of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association explains the danger of humidity. He says that animals pant in order to evaporate moisture out of their lungs, which in turn takes away heat from their body. When the humidity is too much for them, they cannot cool themselves off, so their body temperature can raise to dangerous levels in the blink of an eye. Lindsey Wolko of the Centre for Pet Safety gives a few suggestions. She says that if you are going to be making several stops on your trip, to just leave your dog at home until you are ready to just take him for a car ride or to the dog park. If you are going out to get food, just go to the drive thru whenever you can. The ASPCA says that in most states, it is illegal to leave an animal in the car on a hot day. If you see a car that has a dog trapped in a hot car, you should first try and find the owner. If you cannot locate the owner, go ahead and contact the police. They are able to get into the car and get the dog out. Stay with the car until help arrives.

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