Max’s resourcefulness may have saved his life. When the chocolate Lab was left in the car on a 90-degree day, he honked the horn until his guardian came to let him out. Apparently, she had taken the dog with her while she went shopping and then somehow forgot to bring him inside when she returned home. While she was unloading packages, the poor dog laid on the horn until she went outside to see what all the noise was about. Max had been trapped in the sweltering heat for about an hour. I have no idea how his guardian could have possibly forgotten him in the car, but I also can’t imagine why he was in there while she was shopping in the first place. Leaving dogs inside cars, even for just a couple of minutes, is dangerous.
The woman was clearly concerned; she’s likely remorseful and she’s hopefully wiser now too. She quickly took action once she realized what had happened. She gave Max cold water, wet him down with towels, and rushed him to the veterinary clinic. He was suffering from heat exhaustion, but he didn’t sustain any more serious injuries.
Other dogs aren’t so lucky. Since I wrote about the two dogs who were baked to death in a police cruiser around this time last year—and pointed out that, even on a 73°F day, the inside of a parked car can reach around 100ºF in 10 minutes and 120ºF in 30 minutes, and that dogs can succumb to heatstroke in just 15 minutes—numerous dogs have died or suffered close calls after being left in parked cars.
Early this month, a yellow Labrador died after being left inside a car in the parking lot of Costco on a 104-degree day. (On a 78-degree day, a car parked in the sun can reach 160 degrees in minutes!) Around the same time, a two-year old pit bull died when he was locked in a vehicle when it was 86-degrees outside. An alarming number of ther dogs have recently come close to death inside hot cars, and others have died from being left outside in hot weather.
“Don’t Let Your Dog Get Hot Under the Collar” leaflets, which can be placed on vehicles to remind people never to leave unattended animals inside, are still available from PETA. For more ways to keep dogs cool see HelpingAnimals.com.
Leaving a dog in a hot car is thoughtless, neglectful, and deadly—but not doing anything to help an overheated dog is inexcusable too. Please intervene whenever you see a dog in a car in hot weather—and take steps to help prevent that from happening in the first place. Dogs shouldn’t have to send out SOS’s to be rescued from hot cars.