BOISE, Idaho — Even though the air temperature may be 90 degrees outside, the temperature inside of a car can be up to 20 degrees higher. Those temperatures can be dangerous for both people and your pets alike.
"If the car temperature is over the dog's body temperature, it’s not safe even any amount of time," said Dr. Alix McGrath, Director of Shelter Medicine for the Idaho Humane Society.
A dog's internal temperature is about 99 degrees. At 104+ degrees, Dr. McGrath says dogs are at risk of organ damage that could result in death.
With triple-digit temperatures expected Thursday, local law enforcement agencies and the Idaho Humane Society urge you to leave the pets at home and never leave your kids unattended in a car, even for a minute.
When it comes to animals, Boise Police say there are several things you can do to save them:
- Call 911 immediately
- Try to locate the owner
- If locating the owner is unsuccessful and you believe the dog to be in danger, check to see if the car is unlocked
- If the car is locked and the dog is in danger, break the windows, get the dog to safety, and wait for the police
Dr. McGrath says there are many signs of dogs in distress. Some of the more serious signs are:
- Excessive panting
- Excessive drooling
- Lethargy (dog is sluggish or unable to move)
- Losing consciousness
Dr. McGrath says the sooner you catch these symptoms and the sooner they are treated, the better the survival rate. Unfortunately, dogs can and do succumb to heat-related complications even if they're rescued.
Starting June 7, Boise Police will begin enforcing new laws protecting animals from this sort of negligence. If someone breaks a car/trailer window before June 7, they would not have immunity from civil liabilities or criminal penalties for damages to the vehicle.
If an animal sustains an injury, seeks treatment for heat-related ailments, or dies, the owner could face misdemeanor charges starting June 7.