At the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), we’ve heard the same excuses repeated again and again: "Oh, it will just be a few minutes while I go into the store." Or, "But I cracked the windows open." Or, "It wasn't that warm outside."
And yet, every year, the AVMA continues to hear the same story, over and over: Dogs left unattended in a car or truck, suffering in the rising temperatures, becoming sick and sometimes dying as a result. Seemingly responsible people do it. Police officers have done it. It makes the news. People are outraged. The story goes away. And it happens again.
It happened again in Phoenix yesterday, when a dog died after being left alone in a vehicle for over an hour while its owner went shopping. The temperature outside was 110 degrees; we can only imagine how hot it was inside the vehicle.
But it doesn't have to be sweltering outside to make it dangerous to leave dogs inside a vehicle. The temperature inside a vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. In 20 minutes, it can rise almost 30 degrees, and the longer you wait, the higher it goes. At 60 minutes, the temperature in a vehicle can be more than 40 degrees higher than the outside temperature. Even on a 70-degree day, that's 110 degrees inside the vehicle.
Even on a day that doesn't seem hot to you, a vehicle can quickly reach a temperature that puts pets at risk of serious illness and even death. Cracking the windows makes no difference.
The AVMA wants to put an end to these tragic stories. On its website, the AVMA has several resources, including videos, posters, and other information, to educate the public about the dangers of leaving pets unattended in vehicles. The AVMA encourages stores, malls, restaurants, and other businesses to place its posters (pdf) in their windows to help get the message out: If you love your pets, sometimes it’s best to leave them at home.
Please help the AVMA spread the word that leaving pets in cars is unacceptable, and help prevent similar headlines from happening in the future.
For more information, or to set up an interview, contact Michael San Filippo, senior media relations specialist, at 847-285-6687 (office), 847-732-6194 (cell), or firstname.lastname@example.org.