Hot enough for you? Imagine what it can be like for your four-legged companions. With temperatures once again soaring this week, the RSPCA has implored dog owners not to leave their pets in parked cars.
It’s a plea made every summer, which suggests the message just isn’t getting through to some thoughtless dog owners.
According to the RSPCA, two dogs died of avoidable heat stress in NSW last week. That’s two dogs too many.
In one case the dog died after being locked in a car in an underground car park with the windows wound down.
It’s a dangerous misconception the RSPCA wants to address, that leaving a dog in a car parked in the shade or with the windows down is safe.
If you think it’s hot where you are now, imagine enduring 80 degree heat. That’s how hot a car can become when parked in the sun. Even if the windows are wound down, that heat can still be lethal. And it only takes six minutes for an animal to succumb.
And it’s not just cars that are proving lethal. The RSPCA is investigating a number of cases where dogs have died in shelters and boarding kennels in the past few weeks. Owners need to be sure commercial kennels provide adequate respite from the heat.
When confronted with hot weather, we humans tend to plan ahead, scheduling errands for early morning or evening. The RSPCA wants that forward planning to involve dogs as well. If it’s not absolutely necessary don’t take your dog in the car. If you can, leave them inside in airconditioning and ensure they have plenty of access to water and shade.
If they must be kept in the backyard, ensure they have enough shade and, absolutely critical, enough water. The RSPCA recommends at least a couple of vessels filled with water in case one gets knocked over.
And time their walks. You wouldn’t enjoy walking barefoot on footpaths and roads that have baking in the hot sun for hours. Nor would your dog, which can suffer painful blistered paws if forced to walk in the heat of the day. The tray of a ute can likewise be a horrible place for a dog in the heat.
There are stiff penalties for owners whose dogs die after being left in a car – fines up to $22,000 and a two-year jail term. But at the end of the day, if someone is so thoughtless they’d risk losing their pet to such a horrible fate, they shouldn’t have a dog in the first place.
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