Puppy Dog Tails — 02 May 2009

I am writing this on Saturday morning about 11 a.m. and it is already pretty warm, going up to very warm, and it is going to stay that way for a few days. I am not used to the heat so I plan to stay close to a big bowl of water wherever I go for the next few days. I saw a lot of panting dogs today who were not used to the heat. I also saw dogs in cars with the windows down and a few with windows partially up. That is a huge no-no!

No more days of my neighbor Chewie going to the store with Nancy and waiting in the car. It is just too dangerous to stay in a car, especially for those push-nosed breeds like Chewie, who is a pug. You have to roll up the windows to keep your pet from being stolen or jumping out to follow you. When you do that, you run the risk of killing your pet in just 15 minutes if the temperature is 80 degrees or more.

I would like to ask you to try an experiment. On a day when the temperature is over 78 degrees, get in your car, park in the sun and roll the windows up. Feel the heat? Remember that when you have a pet or a child in your car and you even for one second think about leaving them for just a minute while you run into a store.

When the temperature is more than 78 degrees, a parked car becomes unbearably hot, even in the shade and even with the windows open a few inches. In just five minutes, the temperature inside your car will reach 100 degrees and in 10 minutes it will be over 120 degrees and continue to climb.
We dogs can only cool ourselves by panting and by sweating through our paws. With only hot air to breathe, we can suffer irreversible brain damage and die of heatstroke, an agonizing death. Hundreds of dogs die every year from being left in cars on hot days.

Here are some tips:
Dont take the chance on running an errand with us in tow and leaving us in the car for even just a minute.

If you have a pick-up truck you know that animals should never be in the back because they could fall out and on hot days the metal will burn their feet.

Learn to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion, which include restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, rapid pulse, vomiting, glazed eyes, dizziness and lack of coordination. If you see any of these signs you need to lower your pets body temperature by giving them water and applying a cold towel or an ice pack to the head, neck or chest. I also suggest that you call your veterinarian immediately.

If you see a dog in a car with the windows up do not just assume the owner will be right back. Take down the tag number, make and color of the car and have the owner paged in nearby stores. Call the Alexandria Police Department. Their non-emergency 24 hour number is 703-838-4444. They will contact Animal Control. Have someone keep an eye on the dog while you are trying to reach the owner.

Do us all a favor during the summer unless you are going someplace where we are welcome inside, leave us at home. And please dont be shy about challenging someone you see leaving a pet in a car when the temperature is too high.

Keep your tail high and your feet dry and send your comments to DaisyMae@alextimes.com.

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