Letter: Please don’t leave your dog in a parked vehicle

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I’m writing in response to the extremely alarming frequency with which I’m encountering dogs that have been left in parked vehicles in Asheville. Apparently there isn’t common awareness of just how dangerous this is for your animal’s safety, potentially leading to heat stroke, brain damage and even death in a matter of minutes.

It seems there’s a misconception that if the outside air feels comfortable to humans, and if the windows of the vehicle are left partially open, it’s fine to leave a dog in a car for a short time, but this is far from the truth and doesn’t take into consideration some crucial factors: One is that dogs aren’t able to regulate their body temperature in the ways humans can, so our own gauge of how pleasant the weather is should not be used to determine the risk to a dog.

Another critical factor is that the inner temperature of a parked vehicle increases very rapidly when parked, and studies show that opening windows does not have a significant enough effect on the vehicle’s inner temperature to make this safe. If the outside temperature is just 60 degrees or above, it is already too hot to leave a dog in a parked car for any amount of time, which means that on any spring or summer day in North Carolina, it is too hot to leave a dog in a parked car.

If you’re running errands, please leave your dog at home. If you’re taking your dog in the car to go for a hike, plan accordingly to not have to make stops; your pet’s health and life depend on it.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Ask your vet or visit the page on The Humane Society’s website dedicated to this issue: [avl.mx/ctv].

— Vida King


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