With temperatures heating up on the High Desert, leaving your canine companions in your car could be a deadly mistake.
“I think keeping a dog in a car in the heat is abusive. It puts your dog in danger it really upsets everybody that walks by and sees it,” Old Mill District business employee Lisa Bralla said.
The science is simple: If it’s hot outside, the temperature inside your car will be hotter.
After ten minutes of baking in the sun, your car can be up to 20 degrees warmer than the exterior temperature.
On Friday, Bralla says she witnessed a pug trapped in a car for what she says was at least 30 minutes.
“It was around noon, about 75 out. It was obvious the dog was in distress. It was panting, it was crying,” Bralla said.
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Bralla says up to eight people converged around the vehicle, hoping to free the dog. She says she had a not-so-pleasant experience with the vehicle owner when they finally showed up.
“I was like, ‘All these people are concerned about your dog and you don’t seem to be,'” Bralla said. “That’s how they treated it. They just got super defensive about it.”
Associate Veterinarian at Central Oregon Animal Hospital Dr. Katrina Chew says dogs pant to cool themselves down, creating a cruel cycle.
“The idea is the hotter the air is around them, they start panting, creating more heat they can’t get away from,” Dr. Chew said.
Chew details what distress signs you should look for if you find a trapped dog.
“Excessive panting or really fast breathing. If they are no longer sitting up right, if they’re laying on their side, that would be an absolute signal to do something immediately,” Chew said.
Chew says signs aren’t always obvious, so it’s always best to leave some sort of airflow or to take your furry friends with you.
The Bend Police Department says it’s best practice to call dispatch if you find a dog or child left in a car, but there are protections for smashing a vehicle window to save either if you truly believe they are in imminent danger.