Many of us here at E3 Spark Plugs, based in sunny Florida’s Ponte Vedra Beach, are pet owners. And as Floridians, we know a thing or two about scorching summertime car interiors. So, not much gets us hot under the collar like seeing a pet locked in a car with its owners nowhere in sight.
No doubt you’ve come across one of these scenes. A dog sits in a car in a mall or grocery store parking lot, panting and pawing at the window with a distressed look in his eyes. You look around, sure that the owner is nearby, just grabbing a latte from the coffee shop, returning a shopping cart to the cart stall or otherwise hurrying through an errand and heading back to his car any moment. So, you wait. And wait. And wait some more, considering whether you should call police or, better yet, bust out a window. Serves somebody right, right?
While we can’t advise putting a crowbar through a stranger’s car window (legally, anyway), we do suggest calling the police. After all, a furry little life may well be in danger. Dogs and cats are wired much differently than humans when it comes to regulating body temperatures. Lucky for us, we have sweat glands scattered over most of our bodies and those grossly underrated opposable thumbs, which afford us the ability to flip on a car air conditioner, roll down a window and buy ourselves a cold drink. But our four-legged friends aren’t so fortunate. They have just two ways to cool off – by panting and by releasing heat through their paws.
Consider the facts:
To drive the point home, Dr. Ernie Ward, a nationally renowned veterinarian known as “America’s Pet Advocate” and a regular on TV programs and networks like Animal Planet the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Nightline, Good Morning America, CNN and the Rachael Ray Show, locked himself in his parked car with only a timer, a thermometer and a video camera for 30 long minutes. Despite having all four windows opened one to two inches, the temperature in the car hit nearly 100 degrees in just five minutes. By the time his experiment ended, Dr. Ward’s thermometer showed 117 degrees.
Is it any wonder, then, that the top cause of heatstroke in dogs is leaving them in parked cars? If you’re still not convinced of the danger your pets face, keep in mind that numerous states and municipalities have already passed laws allowing police to smash your vehicle’s windows to save a pet in heat-related distress. And you can bet that animal advocates everywhere are knocking on their legislators’ doors to get similar laws passed nationwide.
So if you’ve got errands to run, E3 Spark Plugs urges you to do your pet a solid and leave him at home until you’re ready to pick him up and head straight for the dog park. And make sure your AC is running strong while your pet is riding with you. Even with the air blasting, your pet will get hotter quicker than will you.