Monthly Archive:: August 2010

Leave Your Pets at Home in Hot Weather

Dog in CarOverheating Kills: What To Do if You See a Pet Locked in a Hot Car

Temperatures around the nation have been off the charts lately and nothing upsets me more more than discovering a helpless pet locked in a hot car on a warm day.  WHAT IN THE HECK are these people thinking!?! Living in Southern California, I spend more time running around grocery stores and strip malls trying to find the clueless owners of these poor pets who then proceed to tell me they "…just ran into the store for a minute..." or  "…left the windows open, so he should be fine…"  My answer to them: No – your pet is not fine and here's why:

Point Number One: Even on a relatively milld 85 degree day, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees – even when the windows have been left open an inch or two. Within 30 minutes a car's interior can actually reach a staggering 120 degrees. Your car is now an oven.

Point Number Two: Even if the temperature outside is a pleasant 70 degrees, the inside of your car may be as much as 20 degrees hotter. Parking your car in shade does not offer protection on a hot day because the sun moves.

Point Number Three: While humans have sweat glands all over our bodies that help regulate our body heat, dogs cool down mostly by panting, which is much less efficient than sweating. In only a short amount of time, a dog with a high body temperature can suffer critical damage to his nervous system, heart, liver and brain.

Do Something! What You Can Do

At least 14 states and many municipalities have enacted laws to address the problem of animals left in cars in extreme temperatures. Under these laws, you, police, animal control agents, peace officers and others may be authorized to enter a vehicle by whatever means necessary to remove an animal. Learn more about the regulations in your area here >

If you’re out and about on a hot day and see an animal alone in a car, you should immediately try to find the car’s owner. If you have no luck, or if the owner refuses to act, contact local law enforcement and/or animal control. 

In my opinion, if the local law enforcement or animal welfare officer can't arrive quickly enough, I say get the dog out of the car  - keeping in mind that you shouldn't put your life in danger either. As well, the ASPCA has created these handy Pets In Hot Cars flyers (pdf) which you can print out and distribute in your neighborhood to help educate people about the danger of leaving pets in hot cars.   

I am going to keep these flyers stocked in my car glovebox – I encourage you to do the same!

Article reprint courtesy of Animal Planet's The Daily Treat with Janet McCulley

Small Dog, Big Hero: Dog Alerts Neighbors When Owner Collapses

 Screen shot 2010-08-09 at 2.05.33 PM 

Good Deed Makes Missy A Good Dog Indeed

Remember those Lassie movies where Lassie managed to not only hop a plane, train or automobile to alert the authorities of any impending crisis, but also provide the actual GPS coordinates of said calamity to the authorities? Well, it appears that Missy the Dachshund has figured out how to do just that!

Charles Mitchell was working in his yard last week in the Oregon wine country town of Yamhill when his neighbor’s dog, an 11-year-old dachshund named Missy, scampered up and refused to leave. Mitchell told little Missy to go home, but she refused. 

“I told Missy to go home, but she wouldn’t move,” Mitchell told the News Register. “She didn’t move until I started to follow her, and then she kept looking back to make sure I was coming.” He realized something must be wrong, because Missy never left the yard on her own and always stuck close to her owner, Charlie Burdon.

Upon following Missy to her house, Mitchell found his neighbor and good friend, Charlie Burdon, had collapsed inside his home. Phone calls ensued and the police chief arrived with paramedics and Burdon, who had suffered an attack of vertigo, was taken to the hospital and is recovering.

Now that’s impressive! Let’s hear it for Missy – the quick-thinking wonder wiener dog! Learn more about other heroic small dogs in history at Small and In Charge – Your Guide to Small Dogs at

ps. I am fairly certain that if I ever lay helpless on the floor, my dogs would most likely commence licking my face and then retire to their favorite sunny spot for a power nap. How about you – are your hounds heroic…or…. not so much?

Article reprint courtesy of Animal Planet's The Daily Treat with Janet McCulley