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Brutus, Duke, Coco, Lola and Jake...sure, they're fairly common pet names, but they're also the names of just a few of the pets that died last year because they were left in cars on warm (and not necessarily hot) days while their owners were shopping, visiting friends or family, or running errands. What's so tragic is that these beloved pets were simply the victims of bad judgment.
Want numbers? An independent study1 showed that the interior temperature of vehicles parked in outside temperatures ranging from 72 to 96° F rose steadily as time increased. And cracking the windows doesn't help.
Click here to view an animated video of the temperature rise in a car over time.(Courtesy ggweather.com/heat)
...add to that the fact that most pets are not properly restrained while in the car, and you've got some dangerous situations – for people and pets alike. Unrestrained pets can be seriously or fatally injured, or could even hurt you, in a collision or sudden braking situation. In addition, they're a distraction for the driver, which increases the risk of driver errors. According to a 2010 American Automobile Association (AAA) survey, 2 out of 3 owners engage in distracting behaviors (playing with, feeding or petting their dog, or letting their dog sit in their lap) when pets are in the car...and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 20% of injury crashes involve distracted driving.
Please don't become another statistic: only take your pets in the vehicle with you when you absolutely need to, and always properly restrain your pets while in the vehicle.
How can you help prevent these injuries and deaths?
Other AVMA resources:
McLaren C, Null J and Quinn J. Heat stress from enclosed vehicles: moderate ambient temperatures cause significant temperature rise in enclosed vehicles. Pediatrics 2005; 116: e109-e112. Available at: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/116/1/e109. Also available at http://ggweather.com/heat/index.htm#heating.
Hyperthermia Deaths of Children in Vehicles(information on in-vehicle temperatures, including an animated video)
Paws to Click(a public service campaign to encourage pet owners to properly restrain pets while in the car)
Doggie Distractions Fact Sheet (some facts from the 2010 AAA/Kurgo survey)
Distraction.gov (official U.S. Government website for distracted driving)
Don't Cook Your Dog! (a UK public service campaign to educate the public about the dangers of hot cars)
2014 American Veterinary Medical Association