By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Last week, with the temperatures on a steady incline, I decided to share some safety tips for dealing with the humid South Texas heat and avoiding heat stroke. Of course, limited page space means I couldn’t mention every single warning sign or symptom of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, but it was enough to convey the gist of things. I didn’t anticipate penning a “Part 2” of additional safety tips until I came across something incredibly disheartening and alarming on Friday afternoon. So, without further ado, allow me to present some more summer safety tips that pertain to our friends of the furry and four-legged variety.
Many of us have pets, including dogs, which we consider to be members of our family. As such, we love to take our canine companions with us wherever we go. And living by the beach as we do, there’s no better place to take a dog than the shores of South Padre Island. Between the warm sunshine, the soft sand perfect for digging paws, the cool waves that tickle paws and curious snoots, and the miles of shoreline to run around, it’s a veritable pup paradise!
And everyone knows you can’t spend a day at the beach with stocking up on supplies first — drinks, snacks, sunscreen, etc. So, a quick stop at a store is a must. But, what is also a must is that, under no circumstances should you leave Fido alone inside your car while you’re inside a store shopping for vacation essentials. Especially with all the windows rolled up and the engine turned off.
It doesn’t matter if you’re only going to be gone for 10 minutes. It doesn’t matter if your car’s a/c was blowing Arctic air before you shut off the ignition.
It doesn’t matter what your excuse is.
It is not, and never will be, okay to leave an animal in a hot car.
Unlike humans, dogs can’t sweat. The only way a dog can try to regulate its body temperature is by panting. But, panting has little effect inside the confines of a vehicle where temperatures can rise as much as 34 degrees in half an hour, according to heatkills.org.
Even on an 80 degree day, much like we experienced last week, the temperature inside a car can climb to 130 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit, heatkills.org reports. It takes just 10 minutes for the temperature to rise to 99 degrees.
Our pets deserve better than to be locked up inside a hot car with the sun beating down on the windows like a magnifying glass trained on a hill of ants.
Our pets are amazing creatures. They give us unconditional love and emotional support. They bring us joy and fulfilment, too. But, they also trust us to act in their best interests. It’s literally the very least we can do. So, please, DON’T leave your pets inside your car.
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