Even on mild days, car can get too hot for pets

When it's 75 degrees outside, the inside temperature can be 100 degrees within 10 minutes

A warning put on a the windshield of a car on a hot day in Clark County, June 16, 2015 (KOIN)
A warning put on a the windshield of a car on a hot day in Clark County, June 16, 2015 (KOIN)

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Even on a day like this, with the outside temperatures relatively mild, the inside of your car can heat up quickly and dramatically.

When it’s 75 degrees outside, the inside temperature can be 100 degrees within 10 minutes. In 30 minutes, the inside temperature could be 120.

“A rule of thumb: we say if it’s going to be above 70 degrees, think about leaving your dog at home,” said Clark County Animal Control Officer Trisha Kraff.

She tested the inside of the KOIN 6 News vehicle. The outside temperature at the time of the test was 67. In 10 minutes, the seat temperature was 84 and the dash temperature was up to 115.

Side-by-side images from the NOAA website about how hot it gets inside a car after just a short time, June 16, 2015
Side-by-side images from the NOAA website about how hot it gets inside a car after just a short time, June 16, 2015

Officers said two dogs in Clark County were rescued from hot cars on Monday.

“We all love our animals, but maybe people just aren’t realizing it just takes 10 minutes and your dog could all of a sudden be in a stressful situation,” said Paul Scarpelli, the Clark County Animal Control manager. “People lose track of time.”

Animal Control is focusing on awareness and prevention, printing up flyers that officers and businesses can put on windshields: “Warning! Your pet may be in danger.”

The flyer also lets owners know they could face a $250 fine or more in Clark County for animal cruelty. Other counties have similar fines, such as Washington County’s $160.

Kraff said a “dog that is starting to be lethargic and not panting and reserving its energy laying on the floor board” is a sign your dog may be in trouble.

She also said if you’re at a store and worried about an animal in a car, ask the store to page the car’s owner. Worried citizens can also contact the local animal control or police.

Video Animation of how quickly a car can heat up (Courtesy General Motors, and Jan Null, San Jose State University)

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