During the summer season, The Snowmass Village Animal Services Division reminds residents of the dangers and risks of leaving dogs in parked cars after witnessing increasing rates at recent special events.
“During our first Thursday Night Concert of the year, we encountered numerous dogs left in cars, and unfortunately this practice is more common than one would expect during summer special events,” said Tina White, Animal Services Officer for the Town of Snowmass Village. “While you may think it’s cool and breezy, the temperature outside in no way indicates the conditions inside your vehicle.”
On a typical day of 85 degrees, the temperature within a vehicle can rise to 102 degrees in just ten minutes, even with the windows opened slightly. After 30 minutes, temperatures can reach 120 degrees.
Heat stroke usually occurs with temperatures of 104 degrees and over. Signs of heat stress in dogs include heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, dizziness, lethargy, excessive thirst, vomiting, deep red or purple tongue, seizures, and unconsciousness.
If you suspect your dog is overheated:
- Move the dog to the shade if possible
- Apply cool (not cold) water all over their body
- Apply ice packs or cold towels only to the head, neck, and chest
- Get the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible
- Wrap the dog in a wet towel on the way to the veterinarian, as lowering the temperature (slowly, not rapidly) is crucial
- Allow the dog to drink water
Leaving a dog in a parked car can not only put your animal at risk, it’s also prohibited by local law. According to the town’s municipal code, no owner or person shall confine any animal within a parked vehicle without adequate ventilation or water. Animal Control Officers may remove the animal from the vehicle if the Animal Control Officer reasonably determines that probable cause exists that the animal is subject to a hazard to its health (Sec. 7-85(c), Ord. 3-1992 Ord. 4-1999).
“We carry thermometers made to check the interior temperature of a car if we think an animal is at risk,” Smith said. “If the temperature is appropriate to leave your dog in the car, we strongly encourage owners to put up window shades, and always leave water and windows down for ventilation.”