12.01.2005

Wanna Go For A Ride?

Today after I left the post office, I noticed a van parked in the lot with 2 poodles inside. The windows were cracked a few inches and the car was not in direct sunlight. The temp outside was at least 85 degrees. This pissed me off (I explain why in a sec) and I decided to wait a few moments until either the owner returned or until it would be necessary for me to intervene (fortunately the owner returned an excruciating six mintues later and her dogs were apparently okay).

No big deal, right? Wrong. Being left in a car is the #1 cause of heatstroke in canines every year. A car, EVEN WITH WINDOWS OPEN, can easily become an oven. Temps inside of cars in sunlight can soar 10-30 degrees PER MINUTE!! This becomes lethal to a dog. See, it has nothing to do with how hot the car is, it has to do with how hot your dog is internally. Their normal body temp is about 101 - 102 degrees. As they rise above 104/105 range, deadly consequences are possible. This happens when dogs cannot release body heat fast enough, through their skin or by panting (which helps evaporate moisture from the lungs). Your dogs' temp can rise this high even if the internal car temp is still below 100 degrees.

What to do? ACT!! If you ever see a dog in a car, go and take a closer look. Rapid breathing, dry mouth, grey lips or very red lips can indicate a severe problem has already developed. Try to locate the owner. Call police, humane society, etc. As a last resort, smash the window and rescue the animal yourself, believe me, the authorities will have to do the same and the owner may thank you for saving the pets' life. I would happily apologize to an angry owner and pay the costs of the smashed window if it meant that I could save the pet. Finally, set a good example yourself. Never leave a dog unattended if you can help it. In Janimal's dream world, I'd win the lottery and then donate a huge chunk to HSUS, then establish a PSA campaign to educate our nation's public to be better pet owners...when's the next drawing?

Fight the Stupid Humans,
Janimal

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