EDITORIAL: Parked vehicles are no place for pets

With high temperatures expected this weekend, it's important not to leave dogs alone in cars – even for a moment.

Residents on the Semiahmoo Peninsula – and across the Lower Mainland – have enjoyed plenty of fine summer weather of late, and it’s shaping up to be another spectacular weekend.

With temperatures expected to approach or exceed 30 C in the coming days, residents will no doubt be flocking to local beaches or their favourite picnic hideaway.

And while the warm weather and sunshine is welcome, it doesn’t come without risks for some members of the family – those of the four-legged variety.

Though we all know the risks, there continue to be reports of dogs being left in parked vehicles.

All of us have experienced returning to our vehicles and being met with a blast of hot air when we open the door. It’s no place to leave our furry friends, even for a moment. Temperatures inside vehicles can quickly rise to life-threatening levels for dogs. Even parked in the shade with the windows partially open, a vehicle can become extremely uncomfortable after only a few minutes.

Our dog-obsessed culture has transformed our pets into a part of the family. But we have a duty to our family members to not place them in jeopardy, even if they seem happy to take their chances.

Dogs cool themselves by panting and by releasing heat through their paws. On warm days the air and upholstery in your vehicle heats up to high temperatures, making it impossible for pets to cool themselves. Dogs have a limited ability to sweat; even a short time in a hot environment can be life-threatening. A dog’s normal body temperature is about 39 C, a temperature of 41 C can be withstood only for a very short time before irreparable brain damage or even death can occur.

While it may pull at your heartstrings to look into Rover’s sad eyes as he watches you head out the door to run a few errands, it’s important to think of what’s in the best interests of our faithful companions. There’s no need for your dog to accompany you on a trip to the grocery store or to do some banking.

They will be much more comfortable at home awaiting your return.

And the pure joy that greets your return will make any separation anxiety melt away.

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