EDITORIAL: Think twice before loading your dog in the car/truck

Leave your pet at home on hot days if you don't plan to have them at your side

It’s that time of year again, when you make sure the air conditioning is working in your car and maybe even consider installing an automatic car starter – if you don’t already have one – to cool down the interior before you get in, because you just know, “it’s going to be an oven in there.”

With the heat come the annual warnings about leaving pets in your car. Not heeding these warnings can lead to tragic consequences, yet we continue to see parked vehicles with furry friends cooped up inside – usually a dog.

Sure, most people leave their windows down a crack to allow for air circulation, but studies have shown that doing so doesn’t help much to prevent dangerously high temperatures in an enclosed space.

Dogs play an important role in people’s lives. “Man’s best friend” is a commonly-accepted moniker for a reason, after all.

Many take their dog everywhere, as they would young children or other people who can’t be left unaccompanied at home. Some see their dog as a member of the family too important to leave alone at home. But for whatever reason, some people still feel it’s acceptable to put that “friend” in a dangerous situation that could leave them with heat stroke in a matter of minutes, or worse, kill them.

If you can’t bear being without your dog while you run your errands, why would you treat it so badly when you bring the animal along, by leaving it in your vehicle?

There are many stores around the West Shore who welcome dog owners and their pets – based on the signage in their windows, at least. Why not frequent those vendors rather than risk the life of your friend? Call around before you head out and see who offers the products or services you’re in the market for, asking everyone if you can bring Scrappy with you when you shop.

Maybe if retailers receive more of these types of calls, more of them will start allowing pets, and we’ll begin to see fewer of our friends in enclosed, dangerous, oven-type spaces.

If you’re unwilling to leash your dog and have it accompany you while you do your business, leave it at home with plenty of water available.

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