02 Jun Leave the Dog at Home!!!
Yesterday I met a client at our local Home Depot to do some socializing and distraction training. I got there a few minutes early and took my dog Bernard out of the car to stand by the door and wait until they got there. It was around 12:30 in the afternoon and already over 80 degrees. As I was standing by the door I heard barking coming from a truck parked in the first row. Sure enough there was a small dog inside barking back at us. I could not believe it! Why would this person do such a thing on such a hot day. Yes they had the windows cracked open but that does not matter. I had already been standing there five minutes before I noticed the dog. I had no idea how long it had been there. There are only fourteen states that have laws to protect dogs being locked in a car on a hot day and North Carolina is one that does not. I asked an employee if we could page to find out who owned the car, and I explained why. He told me that if I wanted to call the police go ahead. Yes, that was my thought also, however the owner may come to the car sooner than the police and it we needed to get the dog out of the car! As I turned to walk in the store and ask someone at the service desk, I heard the dog bark again. The owner was opening the door to the truck. I had all I could do not to run over and tell them what an idiot they were! I don’t know, but am assuming the dog was okay, thankfully. So I thought I would let you know what you need to do if you see someone that has locked a dog in the car.
Note the make/model of the vehicle, license plate number and its specific location. Note a description of the dog(s), and the condition of the dog(s), especially if any signs of distress are observed (see below). Also note the time.
- Call the local animal control agency, police or 911.
- Some locations, such as malls, amusement parks or casinos, will have on-site security that may be able to take action.
- Ask clerks at nearby stores/venues to make announcements using the vehicle’s make/model to locate the dog’s owner.
- If possible, return to the vehicle to monitor the dog’s condition and help responding authorities locate the vehicle.
Heatstroke is a very scary thing for a dog. They do not sweat like we do and their panting is what they do to try to cool themselves off. Here are the signs you need to look for if you suspect a dog may have heat stroke.
- Excessive panting
- Excessive drooling
- Increased heart rate
- Trouble breathing
- Disorientation, stumbling or poor coordination
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Collapse or loss of consciousness
- Respiratory arrest
Dogs with short noses, such as bulldogs, are more easily prone to heat illness; as are dogs with thick coats, such as Siberian huskies and Pomeranians.
Please don’t take action by entering the vehicle without the owners permission. Even though I wanted to do just that, charges brought against you could be serious. Hopefully if you do decide to help the dog out whatever way you can, the police will charge the owner with animal cruelty not charge you for breaking in their car!
A dog in distress from hyperthermia is a medical emergency. Dogs rescued from hyperthermia should be taken to a veterinary clinic as soon as possible. In the meantime, remove the dog from the hot conditions and move the dog into a cooler, preferably air-conditioned, area. Wet the dog’s coat with room temperature water. Aim a fan at the dog, or fan the dog manually with a paper. Do not force drinking.
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