Animal control reminds everyone not to leave pets in vehicles

Experts say it's too hot to leave your pets in the car while you run errands.
Experts say it's too hot to leave your pets in the car while you run errands.
Updated: Jul. 13, 2020 at 3:48 PM EDT
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HANOVER Co., Va. (WWBT) - The Hanover County Animal Control is reminding pet owners not to leave their pets in vehicles even for a few minutes on sunny days.

Animal control says that even with the windows down, being left in a hot car can be critical to them. Parking in the shade also offers little protection.

“A pet can die in only a few minutes if left in a car even with the windows rolled down,” said Jeffrey S. Parker, Chief of Hanover County Animal Control. “Bring them inside or leave them at home, but don’t leave them in a car. Even when it’s only 80 degrees outside and sunny, the inside of a car gets hot very quickly and your pet will become overheated.”

On warm, sunny days, temperatures inside vehicles can reach 120 degrees in minutes, even with the car window partially open.

“A pet can quickly suffer brain damage or die from a heatstroke when trapped in these high temperatures,” Parker said.

Animal says to do the following if your pet has been exposed to hot temperatures:

  • Be alert for signs of heat stress—heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting or a deep red or purple tongue.
  • If your pet becomes overheated, you must lower its body temperature immediately. Move your pet into the shade and apply cool (not cold) water all over its body to gradually lower its temperature. Apply ice packs or cool towels to your pet’s head, neck and chest only. Let your pet drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
  • Finally, take your pet directly to a veterinarian—it could save its life.

If you see an animal in a car showing any signs of heat stress, call 911 immediately.

Animal control also reminds pet owners that if their animal dies after being left in a vehicle, they can be charged with cruelty to animals, which is a felony that could lead to jail time if convicted.

Hanover County Animal Control released the following tips on taking care of a pet in hot weather:

  • Don’t force your pet to exercise after a meal in hot, humid weather. Exercise it in the early morning or evening, and keep walks to a minimum.
  • Never leave your dog standing on hot asphalt. Its body can heat up quickly and sensitive paw pads can burn.
  • Do not take an animal to the beach unless you can provide a shaded spot and plenty of fresh water. Rinse it off after it has been in salt water.
  • Owners shall provide shade and a well-constructed doghouse that does not conduct heat for animals staying outside. Bring your dog inside during the hottest part of the day, and make sure it has plenty of cool water. Keep cats indoors.
  • Be extra sensitive to old and overweight animals in hot weather. Snub-nosed dogs such as bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu, as well as those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

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