Pet Safety Concerns Come with Warming Weather - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Pet Safety Concerns Come with Warming Weather

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For many of us, this recent warm up in the weather is exactly what we've been waiting for, but it can already be dangerously hot for pets left inside vehicles.

We all know what it's like to climb into a car that's been sitting in the sun all day - even on a relatively mild day like we saw Tuesday.

But, we wanted to find out just how much hot the inside of a vehicle got, so we set up a little experiment.

We used a digital thermometer to check the air temperature around 3:30 Tuesday afternoon and got a reading of about 91 degrees.

We checked the thermometer again after we placed it inside a vehicle that had been sitting in the sun for a while and got a reading of 106.8 degrees and still climbing.

Inside another vehicle that was sitting in the sun with its windows cracked, the temperature was still much hotter than the outside air.

In fact, on an 85 degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes, according to the Humane Society of the United States. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees.

"It's too hot, very too hot for these pets," said Vickie Sanders, president of the Animal Aid Humane Society in Moline.

"Most of their temperatures are around 100 degrees, but they still probably don't have a way of cooling off at all in the car," she explained.

The high temperatures in a car can lead to heat stroke in animals in a matter of minutes. It can cause permanent brain and organ damage, and often death.

"I remember a few years back, a lady left her three pit bulls in the car and she didn't have her air conditioner set at max and thought that it was okay, and when she came out, they were all dead," Sanders recalled.

"Hopefully we don't hear of any tragedies this summer," she added.

Sanders says these kinds of tragedies are preventable. Pet owners need to recognize the danger heat can pose to pets and put them at risk when the temperature is too high.

"I'd say over 80 degrees, I would leave them home where they can stay cool in the house where it's safe for them," Sanders said.

And, Sanders points out that heat can be dangerous for animals outside the car too.

Hot pavement can hurt animals paws, so it's important to keep that in mind when taking your pet out. Also, it's critical that any animal outside for more than 20 minutes has sufficient water, food, and shelter, and that you keep a close eye on your animals any time heat is a factor.

"They can't tell us when their bodies are starting malfunction like we know, but for them, they can't speak up for themselves so we have to be really careful with our pets," Sanders said.

Sanders urges anyone who sees a dog in a hot car and is concerned for its safety to call police or animal control, and stick around to make sure the issue is taken care of promptly.

You can learn more about heat stroke symptoms, prevention, and what to do on the Humane Society website

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