Viewpoint - May 5, 2010

Letter: Summer heat can be deadly for your pet

In warmer weather, it is best to leave pets at home while shopping or dining out, unless your destination allows you to keep them with you, rather than leaving them in the car.

According to an article published by the Humane Society of the United States, "Common sense tells most people that leaving their pet inside a parked vehicle on a hot summer day could be dangerous after an extended period of time. But most people don't realize that the temperature can skyrocket after just a few minutes. Parking in the shade or leaving the windows cracked does little to alleviate this pressure cooker."

A study by the Stanford University School of Medicine showed that temperatures inside cars can rise dramatically even on mild days. With outside temperatures as low as 72 degrees, researchers found that a car's interior temperature can heat up by an average of 40 degrees within an hour, with 80 percent of that increase in the first 30 minutes. A cracked window provides little relief from this oven effect.

The Stanford researchers found that a cracked window had an insignificant effect on both the rate of heating and the final temperature after an hour.

Please pay heed to the Humane Society: "While people can roll down windows, turn on the air conditioner or exit the vehicle when they become too hot, pets cannot."

Your furry friends will be grateful that you took the time to read this brief article.

Go to (case-sensitive) for more information from the Humane Society of the United States.

Lanny Danenberg, Palo Alto


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