by Terri Wiebold
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office, as well as officers from the Douglas County Animal Services Department, responds to calls of dogs or other animals that have been left in vehicles with little or no air flow on hot days. This can prove to be deadly.
The following tips are provided by the Humane Society of the United States for pet owners to keep pets safe during hot weather. Additional information can be found at www.hsus.org.
Do not leave pets in parked cars for any period of time. Every summer, animals left in parked cars suffer brain damage and die from heatstroke. On a warm day, even with the windows cracked, the temperature in a car can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes.
Be alert to signs of heat stress - heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, unsteadiness, staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue.
If a pet has become overheated, lower its body temperature immediately by moving the pet into the shade and by applying cool (not cold) water all over his/her body to gradually lower the body temperature.
Apply ice packs or cold towels to a pet's head, neck, and chest only.
Let the pet drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
Take the pet to a veterinarian right away - it could save the pet's life.
If an animal is left in a car and is showing signs of heat stress, call the Douglas County Sheriff's Office immediately at 303-660-7505. Colorado does have a law that states it is illegal to leave a pet in a vehicle in a manner that endangers the health or safety of the animal. A person could be charged with CRS 18-9-202 (1) (a), Cruelty to Animals, a class 1 misdemeanor, if a pet is left in a car unattended with no protection against the weather.
It has been said that, “a dog is a man's best friend.” Please remember to treat friends (and all pets) humanely, and try to keep cool for the summer.