Leave dog at home instead of in a hot car


Dogs could die if they are left in a hot car. So many of you believe that if you leave the window down a bit and maybe even park under a tree, your dog will be OK.

You do not consider yourselves abusers of your pets, but this is abuse, folks, and it is against the law.

Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car for any period of time. On a warm day, the temperature in a parked car can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes - even with the car windows partially open. Your pet can quickly suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke or suffocation when trapped in high temperatures.

This is what you should do if your pet is exposed to high temperatures:

• Be alert for the signs of heat stress - heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting or a deep red or purple tongue.

• If your pet becomes overheated, you must lower his body temperature immediately.

• Move your pet into the shade and apply cool - not cold - water all over her body to gradually lower her body temperature.

• Apply ice packs or cold towels to your pet's head, neck and chest only.

• Let your pet drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.

• Finally, take your pet directly to a veterinarian. Doing so could save your pet's life.

If you see an animal in a car exhibiting any signs of heat stress, call your local animal care and control agency or police department immediately. Dispatch can be reached locally at (575) 758-2216.

You don't just expose your pet to the dangers of heat stress when you leave him in a car, you also expose him to pet theft. Thousands of pets are stolen each year from unattended cars.

Under a Taos County ordinance, an animal control officer or law officer can break into the car if the animal is in immediate danger. Under the code, as it is written, "if the County determines that an animal in a vehicle is in immediate danger, the County may enter the vehicle by whatever means necessary, without being liable to the owner of the vehicle for damage caused to the vehicle, and seize the animal."

Leaving the air conditioning on and the car running does not guarantee your dog's safety. Not only could the air conditioning break, but you run the risk of noxious fumes building up.

Taking your pet for a ride may seem like fun, but many pets prefer to spend time with you in the comfort and safety of your home. Explore activities that you and your pet can share at home and avoid taking risks that come when you leave your pet in the car.

If you must take your pet with you in your car, do so safely. Cats should ride in pet carriers, and dogs should ride in travel crates or be on a leash. When a pet travels, she should wear two ID tags -- one with a home address and one with a destination address.

In addition to not leaving your dog in a hot car, avoid walking your dog on hot surfaces.

Paw pad burns are a common summer injury for dogs. According to the Humane Society, asphalt can heat to more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer. Fresh tar and new asphalt roads can reach more than 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot sand can also cause paw pad burns. This means serious danger for dogs in the summertime. Responsible dog owners should watch for tell-tale signs of burned pads. Signals can include pads that are darker than usual, limping or refusing to walk, missing parts of a foot pad or visible blisters and redness. Some dogs may also lick or chew on the burned foot pad.

Leave your dog at home. They will get over it!

Email taosbark@gmail.com or call (575) 741-5149.