Blazing temperatures combined with thousands of power outages have made for several hot and challenging days for people across our area. Cooling shelters have been a source of relief for some, but most shelters don't accept pets.
The heat wave has been deadly for a few dogs. Veterinarians at Countryside Veterinary Clinic have already seen four heat related dog deaths, and many close scares.
"They thought just cracking the window would be enough to keep that dog safe, but unfortunately, by the time it got here it had already passed away," said Dr. Anthony O'Sullivan.
O'Sullivan says dogs that have trouble with breathing like pugs, bull dogs, golden retrievers, and labs are often victims.
"At 78 degrees, the temperature inside the car can get to 120 degrees within 8 minutes," said O'Sullivan. "At 90 degrees like today it can get to 160, 180 within 10 minutes tops. So, it's pretty scary."
In Chesterfield County, two people face charges for leaving two dogs in the car at the mall. Police, mall security, and animal control were able to get the two dogs out of the car, cool them down, and get them some water. Luckily, they're expected to be ok.
In Richmond, authorities responded to 8-10 heat related dog cases just this weekend. One dog died an several were taken from their owners. Officials say there has been one charge of animal cruelty and several more investigations.
"If you wouldn't leave your child in the car, I wouldn't even chance it with an animal," said O'Sullivan.
Vets say one of the biggest misconceptions is that if you crack the window you're ok. They say that's not the case.
If your dog does overheat, don't put ice water on them because you could kill them. Instead, use luke warm water and put alcohol wipes on their pads. Then, get help from a vet immediately.
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