The dangers of hot vehicles are at the forefront of the media these days — with a record number of incidents involving pets left in hot cars.
It still happens all the time. In some cases, people don’t realize the significant difference in temperature between the outside and inside of a car on a sunny day.
In other cases, people who are fully aware of the risks decide to run into the store anyway — after all, they only have a single item to grab and they will only be five minutes. Inevitably, that is the time when four items become six, the lineups to checkout are longer than expected, or you run into an old friend you haven’t seen for a long time.
Animals don’t simply die when the temperatures rise — they go through various stages of heatstroke before reaching that point, making every minute really count.
The temperature in a hot car can climb to dangerous levels in as little as 10 minutes — even on a 20°C day!
As pets progress through the various stages of heatstroke, the risk increases. In a short time, a dog in a hot car can suffer permanent damage to his liver, heart, brain and nervous system — and seizures can also result from overheating.
Death is a very real threat for dogs left in hot cars, but it’s important to remember that pets that do survive are still at risk of many other permanent and serious effects.
While humans have sweat glands in their bodies and the ability to perspirate all over, a dog’s ability to cool down by sweating is much more limited. A dog can only sweat from his tongue and through the pads of his paws, making the cooldown process much slower.
A cracked window and a bowl of water in the car are not enough to reduce the temperatures or their effects.
Recently, one individual has stepped up to help create awareness — and is hoping businesses in Manitoba will help him out.
Barry Piasta, a truck driver from Niverville, has taken on this challenge. Piasta hosts different dog rescue related projects, and his most recent endeavour was to create warning signs that businesses can put in their parking lots as a reminder to the public.
These professional aluminum signs are similar to road signs, and Barry is offering them free to businesses anywhere in Manitoba that are willing to put them up in their parking lots. Many businesses in Winnipeg are already sporting these signs — and Barry is hoping to see them all over the province.
If you are a business owner and would like a sign for your business, you can reach Barry at 204-510-4299.
The signs are meant to create awareness and to hopefully help discourage the public from bringing pets with them on shopping trips.
Our dogs enjoy car rides, but they don’t enjoy periods alone in the vehicle waiting for owners. Your canine companion will have much more fun if the trip and destination are both places he is welcome.
And if you have other stops to make, maybe this time, leave him at home. It’s better than putting your best friend’s safety at risk.
Dana Grove is an animal lover who works with several pet organizations in Brandon.