Summer has officially arrived in the Rio Grande Valley. We can already expect rising temperatures and sunny skies. This also means staying out of the sun to avoid sunburn and remaining hydrated. The same applies to our four-legged, furry family members. We do our best to take care of our pets, and this includes doing what we can to ensure that they remain safe and healthy in hot temperatures.

Unfortunately, there are a few people who either don’t realize the extent of caring for a pet or ignore the responsibility altogether. There have been times when pet owners leave their animals in locked cars on hot days with no cracked windows or air-conditioning running. This type of environment can be dangerous and deadly. What should you do if you spot an animal locked in a car on a hot day?

If you think your cat or dog could be suffering from a heat stroke, contact Valley Animal Hospital immediately. If you spot an animal locked in an automobile without an owner, contact your local authorities.

The Effects of Heat

Temperatures inside of a locked vehicle can rise quickly on hot days, and if you see a cat or dog inside without its owner, call your local authorities immediately. A cat or dog in a hot car can experience seizures, vomiting and many other symptoms if exposed to heat for too long.

The differences between a human inside a car and a cat or dog are immense. For example, a dog can suffer the effects of the hot environment much quicker than a person. Many locations in the Valley prohibit animals on their property. For this reason, unless taking your pet to a park or other public location where animals are permitted, it would be best to just leave him/her home while you run errands.

From the Experts

Cindy Mendoza, Office Manager at Valley Animal Hospital, advises all Valley residents to contact authorities immediately should they happen to spot a pet locked in a car on a hot summer day.

“It is extremely dangerous for a dog or cat to be locked in a vehicle without air conditioning running. It only takes a short amount of time for a pet locked in a vehicle to become ill due to intense heat.”

Showing the Dangers

Renowned veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward created a video starring himself to show what it’s like to be locked inside of a hot car on a warm summer day. With a timer and a temperature gauge in hand, Dr. Ward showed how, after increments of five and ten minutes, temperatures in the vehicle began to substantially increase.

By the end of the video, the temperature went from 95 degrees to about 117 degrees. Although for a person it is quite easy to exit a hot vehicle, for a helpless pet, an escape is unlikely if windows are rolled up.

The Law

Although there is no law in the State of Texas that prohibits leaving animals unattended in a car, authorities should still be contacted if you discover a pet left behind in a locked vehicle. Doing this may not only prevent the death of a harmless animal, it can also ensure that its owner will not repeat the action. Although a law prohibiting this act doesn’t exist, there are animal cruelty statutes that can be implemented against an irresponsible pet owner if it’s proven an animal was intentionally left in a locked car.

We Are Here to Help

The temperatures in South Texas can easily get into triple digits, and leaving a pet in a vehicle is unsafe, and in some cases, can be equivalent to animal cruelty. If you see anyone who has left their pet in a locked vehicle, alert the authorities. A simple phone call to police can save the life of a loving animal. For general information or to schedule an appointment with our McAllen veterinarians, contact Valley Animal Hospital.



One Response to “What to do After Finding an Animal Locked in a Vehicle”

  1. Jordan Miner

    I’ve been thinking about finding a good animal hospital for our new dog. I’m glad you talked about how you should take a pet who is locked in a hot car to an animal hospital. I’m going to have to look for a good one we can take our dog to for regular treatment, and hopefully get some good help!

Leave a Reply