It is not uncommon to see dogs riding in cars, but not all places are pet friendly, and many dogs are left in parked cars to survive the summer heat.
But many people, like Laura Stiller with the Exotic Pet Jungle, enjoy taking their animals on daily car rides.
“I really love being in a society where we like to take our dogs everywhere. I take my dogs everywhere. I take my dogs to Lowe’s. I take my dogs on car rides, but the reality is they are wearing a fur coat, and they can’t stay in the car when it’s above 70 degrees outside. They just can’t,” said Stiller.
But what many people may not realize is how quickly a parked car can overheat to the point of danger. Cheat Lake Animal Hospital veterinarian Jesse Fallon said it takes less than 20 minutes for a sitting car to become deadly.
“I would say within a matter of 15 minutes, the temperature in that car, if it’s parked in open sun with windows up, it’s going to get into a dangerous temperature zones,” said Fallon.
Oftentimes dogs are seen in parked cars with the windows rolled down, but the risk of heat exhaustion or worse still remains.
“The heat just doesn’t escape. It’s magnified. It’s bouncing off the pavement. It’s in a metal box, and just having the windows down or cracked, there’s no circulation. It’s still hot,” said Stiller.
This has been an ongoing problem, and specialists said the only true solution to this issue is continued awareness and education.
“The solution is education. Education is awareness. Awareness is education. So, we have to make people understand. I think we need to be responsible citizens and help other people, not be rude, not call them out and be obnoxious about it, but you can find the owner of the car and say, ‘Hey I was really concerned. Did you know that this is really dangerous for them?’ And, you know, maintain your sanity, and be polite, and get the word out” said Stiller.
Along with contacting the owner, if you see an unattended dog in a parked car, you are advised to contact local authorities as soon as possible.
You can also stop by a local pet store like the Exotic Pet Jungle in Morgantown to pick up a warning pamphlet to leave on the windshield of an unattended vehicle.