DENVER — As temperatures hover near 100 degrees this week, Denver Animal Protection (DAP) wants to reminds residents on the dangers of leaving pets alone in hot vehicles.
DAP said temperatures inside a car can reach 120 degrees quickly, even if temperatures are mild and windows are open. Dogs can suffer life-threatening heatstroke in a matter of minutes, which can cause organ failure and death.
"Dogs don’t sweat like humans. They sweat small amounts through their paws and nose, but not enough to release excess body heat," DAP said in a news release. "Instead, they release heat primarily by panting, exchanging hot for cool air. So, if a dog can’t expel heat, their internal body temperature begins to dangerously rise."
So far this year, DAP said it has received 150 calls of dogs left inside vehicles during extreme temperatures.
Obesity and pre-existing medical conditions put pets at a higher risk of heat exhaustion and heatstroke, according to DAP. Puppies, elderly, long-haired, dark-haired and flat-faced dogs are also more at risk for overheating.
> Video above: Hot cars and dogs don't mix, Denver!
Colorado offers legal immunity for those who break into a locked vehicle to rescue a dog, cat or an at-risk person. Those concerned about a pet locked in a hot car can call 311 to report it.
Anyone who leaves their pet in an overheated car could be ticketed for animal cruelty, and face a fine of up to $999 and/or 300 days in jail, DAP said.
If you suspect an animal is suffering from heatstroke, DAP says to:
- Move the animal to the shade or a cooler area
- Cool the pet down with water or ice packs on the stomach only
- Offer cool drinking water, but do not force-feed water
- Don’t submerge the pet in water, this can further hurt them when temperature regulation is impaired
- Don’t cover, crate, or confine the pet
- Even if your pet responds to cooling treatments, it’s critical you go to an emergency veterinarian.
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