The dog days of summer have officially arrived — Massachusetts simmered in an official heat wave last week with temperatures steadily in the ‘90s. Summertime is the season to get out, explore, and bring the family pet along for the ride. However, pets are at a high risk of injury and even death when temperatures skyrocket. It may seem harmless to leave your pets in the backseat for a short time while you and the family grab an ice cream cone. However, just a few minutes in the car, even with the windows down, can be dangerous or even fatal to your smaller, four-legged companions.
These tragic accidents are usually not from a lack of caring. Most pet owners are unaware of how quickly a car can heat up. Recently, Wrentham police had to rescue two dogs from two different cars at the Wrentham Outlets. In a Facebook post, they explained, “As is always the case, the owners eventually showed up and seemed surprised to learn how fast a car turns into an oven”.
On warm, summer days, temperatures inside a vehicle rise rapidly in a matter of minutes.
According to The Humane Society of the United States, on an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees.
In an effort to further protect our pets, the Massachusetts Senate unanimously approved a bill on June 28, 2016, that would allow bystanders to break a car’s window in order to rescue a pet locked in a hot car. If it passes the House of Representatives, it will help reduce the rates of animal injury and fatality.
Protect your furry companion this summer by understanding the risks of hot cars and practicing these safety precautions.
Hot Car Safety Tips
- Never leave pets alone in a car.
- Look before you lock. Create a reminder to check the backseat, such as putting your bag or briefcase there, before you leave your vehicle.
- Understand and quickly identify the symptoms of heat stroke, such as dizziness, disorientation, seizure, or loss of consciousness.
- If you see an animal alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately. If the child or animals seems overheated or sick, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible if your state laws allow it.
What to Do If You See a Pet Locked In a Hot Car
- Write down the make, model, and license plate of the car.
- Check if car doors are locked. If they are locked, try locating the owner. Go into nearby stores or restaurants to ask the manager to make an announcement to guests to find the pet’s owner.
- If the owner can't be found, call the non-emergency number of the local police or animal control and wait by the car for them to arrive.
- If the pet is in visible distress, some states allow good samaritans to legally break into a car in order to remove the animal. This is considered a last resort option, but necessary if it could save a life.
We hope that these safety tips and precautions will have shown you how to protect your companion from avoidable risks like hot cars. Let us know about other ways in which you reduce the risk of overheating and heat stroke in a comment!
Insurance can protect you from unexpected accidents this summer. Learn more about our coverage options on our website or give us a call at 800-333-7234.