Heat endangers pets

With temperatures topping 90 degrees this week, the Michigan Humane Society is urging pet owners to not leave their pets in their vehicle unattended and, instead, to leave them at home when running errands.

MHS has created a video to increase awareness about the dangers of leaving animals in hot cars at www.michiganhumane.org/hotcars.

On an 85-degree day, parked in the shade with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car could reach 102 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes. On warmer days, it will go even higher.

In warm weather, the overheated air in a parked car interferes with a pet’s normal cooling process because, unlike humans, dogs and cats do not perspire to cool their bodies down – they pant.

When the air they breathe is overheated, the evaporation that usually occurs during panting is insufficient to allow proper cooling. A pet, like a child, can only withstand a higher body temperature for a very short time before suffering irreparable brain damage – or even death.

If you see an animal in immediate distress in a parked car, ask the store to make an announcement or, if necessary, contact a local animal shelter control or police.