Today, Information Nation speaks with Charles L. Starr III about a common problem: pet owners who leave their pets in hot cars. Charles L. Starr III has seen this far too many times, and would like to weigh in.
Information Nation: Why do pet owners continue to let this risky situation happen?
Charles L. Starr III: I think that it’s basically for two reasons: they think of their pets as family and they don’t realize how quickly a car gets hot on the inside.
Information Nation: It’s like a greenhouse!
Charles L. Starr III: Yes, it really is. Even with windows cracked, a car can heat up 20 degrees on the inside in the first ten minutes.
Information Nation: Wow, that’s something most people probably do not realize.
Charles L. Starr III: It gets worse. In 30 minutes, the temperature can rise 35 degrees, meaning that even on a nice, pleasant 70 degree day your car can heat up to 105 on the inside pretty quickly.
Information Nation: That puts the dog at risk of heatstroke.
Charles L. Starr III: Absolutely. It can happen before people even realize it, even if you have water for the dog.
Information Nation: Heat isn’t the only problem for dogs in cars…
Charles L. Starr III: No, people forget that a dog needs to be restrained with seatbelts just like human passengers.
Information Nation: I can see how it could be a big problem in an accident.
Charles L. Starr III: Yes, a dog can be seriously injured even just in a sudden braking or evasive maneuver situation.
Information Nation: Not to mention a dog that is loose is a distraction!
Charles L. Starr III: Yes, a loose small dog can get down in the driver’s floorboard and cause lots of problems.
Information Nation: Hasn’t research found that many accidents are due to distracted driving?
Charles L. Starr III: Yes. I believe I’ve read that about 20 percent of injury crashes, and things like petting or feeding a dog while driving, are definitely a part of that.
Information Nation: What can pet owners do?
Charles L. Starr III: Really, you should consider if your dog should come along at all, first and foremost.
Information Nation: But if you do bring the dog, what should you do?
Charles L. Starr III: Keep it restrained, don’t let it hang out the window, and don’t ever let a dog ride in a truck bed.
Information Nation: We appreciate your sharing these pet care tips with our readers.
Charles L. Starr III: Absolutely, I’m here to spread the word to responsible pet owners.
Charles L. Starr III is a practicing veterinarian in the greater Denver area.