The Lebanon police and Chief Scott Bowen urge dog owners to be cautious when leaving their furry friends inside unattended vehicles this summer.
“Would you put your dog in an oven? Of course not, but that’s what it’s like when you leave your dog in the car,” Bowen said.
The temperature inside a parked car on a 78-degree day can soar to 120 degrees in just minutes, according to PETA.org. That temperature could reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes on a 90-degree day.
Dogs and other animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Beating the heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paw pads.
“Please don’t make stops if you’re unable to take your dog with you,” Bowen said. “Cracked windows and parking in shaded places do very little to help.”
These are common heatstroke signs of distress for dogs: restlessness, thick saliva, heavy panting, dark tongue, rapid heartbeat, vomiting and lack of coordination. If you see a dog left unattended in a vehicle, check for these signs and if you feel the animal is in danger, call the police immediately.
Take down the car’s color, model, make and license plate number and try to have the owner paged in the nearest buildings, if possible. Knock on doors if the dog is in a private driveway.
Provide water to drink to the dogs, if possible, and spray the dog with a garden hose or cool water for up to two minutes in order to lower the body temperature gradually. Be careful not to use ice or cold water.
Bowen said the police department receives a few calls of unattended dogs during the summer months, but a few are too many. He encourages drivers to think of their pets during the hot months.
“Your dog is along for the ride, not the wait,” said Bowen.