Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Beaches and Cars are no Place for a Hot Dog

So, hands up, those of you who have taken your dog for a walk on pavement, gravel, or sand on a hot summer's day.  

Yes, sand - the beach - a great place for a sunny afternoon, right?  Wrong!  While we trot around in our flipflops or sneakers, our dog's bare paws are being burned by the sun-and-heat-absorbing material on which they are forced to walk.  An internet friend of mine, Nana Nishigaki, made this poster last year and has given me permission to post it here and to invite you to share it with others:

Walk the dog in the early morning and/or after sunset, or choose shady trails or grassy fields for play (being mindful that the dog doesn't first have to cross a burning-hot parking lot to reach it).  Your dog will thank you.

And then there is this scenario:  I'm doing a homecheck for a rescues, or just listening in on someone interested in adopting a dog from the shelter where I volunteer, when I hear the potential adopters say "Oh, he'll never be alone - I want a dog I can take EVERYWHERE with me."  

While making a dog an integral part of the family is a great thing, the expectation to take the dog everywhere raises red flags and, in the homecheck situation, leads to a reality-checking teachable moment. 

There are very few stores that allow dogs, and I've yet to see a doctor's office, grocery, restaurant, or hospital that allows Joe Blow to bring his dog in with him (unless Joe Blow has a service dog due to a disability).  

I see what many  people who take their dogs 'everywhere' do while in these establishments - they leave their dog in the car.  Sadly, on a warm spring, summer or fall day, this is a dangerous practice.  Even with the windows cracked and the car parked in the shade, the temperature inside the vehicle can quickly reach a point that leaves the dog in distress or - to put it bluntly - dead.  

Dogs cool themselves by panting and by releasing heat through their paws - the warm temperature inside the car, combined with car seat upholstery, prevents effective cooling.  The temperature inside a car increases approximately twenty degrees (F) for every ten minutes.  That's 'ten minutes to disaster', as a recent SPCA poster says. 

Tying them up outside the store or beside the car  is no solution as it invites escape or theft.   Leave Fido at home when going anywhere he or she isn't welcome - even if you just plan to 'pop into the store for a couple of things' - you never know when that 'two minutes' will become ten or twenty.    

But you, my dog loving friends, probably know this.  

My rule of thumb is if the temperature is in the high teens - or likely to reach that - I leave the dogs at home. 

It just makes sense.  Summer may be hotdog time, but it is no time for hot dogs. 


Anonymous said...

Beautiful columbine picture! Also I shared the poster with our daughter who works at the SPCA! She will love it! Enjoy your blog and read it often although don't usually comment!

Anonymous said...

Well said, Jean. Warmer temperatures mean we need to adjust our thinking for our pets. Making sure that lots of clean water is available is also important during these warm days. I'm not sure any feral cats are living in the park behind my home but I keep a bowl of fresh water on my back patio just in case. They might enjoy a drink of cool, clean water on a hot day.

georgia little pea said...

Dear Ms Jean, I wish you had put this poster up before we went on our Chrissie holiday. If you remember, I burnt my tootsies on the beach and had to wear baby socks in public after that oh the shame of it all. My friend Ella died in a hot car, her humans didn't know she'd jumped in there and fallen asleep. They were and still are very sad. Us dogs are such fragile creatures. Please have a nice day. The Typist says your sun is back. Well hurrah for you, I am a bit cold here. Your friend, Georgia X

Cathy said...

Hear Hear

Jean said...

Hi Aileen - thanks for the comment! I posted the poster on the Cowichan SPCA facebook page - I'd love to see it circulated more widely. The SPCA has some great 'hot car' posters but I've never seen them mention 'hot sand' as a danger.
Anonymous - good idea to provide clean water for critters. I was just thinking I need to clean and fill the birdbath.
Oh Georgia, I do remember your poor burned tootsies during the ridiculously hot Australian summer. I bet your Typist won't let you do that again. And your poor friend Ella - so sad.
Each season brings new challenges and safety issues when it comes to our critters.

Anonymous said...

What a great poster. We hear all the time about the dangers of dogs in hot cars but seldome is it mentioned how hot pavement,sand, rocks etc can get and burn paws.


CAPB said...

What a great post. It's a good reminder at this time of year. I love the poster too - and good to remember to take care of paws on hot surfaces as well as thinking of hot oven cars.