This is Chief Science Officier Jennifer Sontag reporting from the science lab aboard the USS Tiburon with a special PSA for all pet owners.

The US is now in the midst of a massive heat wave  what we like to call summer and it’s going to around for a few more months. I know that everyone likes to take their dog everywhere with them but as shown in the chart above, it’s very very dangerous to leave you pet in the car even for a few minutes. Dogs have a hard time regulating their internal temperature and have to pant to stay cool. If they are breathing only the hot air in the car they can over heat and die from heat exhaustion. So the best practice is to leave them at home unless you are taking them somewhere fun like the dog park, old swimming hole or even to the pet store.

If you see a dog in distress outside a store, first go inside and see if you can locate the owner of the car, if you can’t locate the owner call the police. Don’t try and rescue the animal yourself unless you know the rules in your state.

There are ways to help you own pets if they are overheating:

  • Take them inside and try to find a cool place for them to lay down
  • Give them cool water (not cold water) becasue if you give them really cold water it could give them cramps
  • If you have been walking your dog on very hot pavement you can put rubbing alcohol on their paws to cool them down.
  • You can also wet a towel or washcloth to rub them down if they have been outside in the heat but use only cool water not cold because they cold water will shock their systems.
  • Limit your walks to the early morning or later in the evening.
  • And last but not least, if you have a pale or light skinned dog besure to put on sunscreen because they can burn just like humanas can.

Thank you for your time and I shall be giving more tips and tricks next month.