Why do cars get so hot and kill companion animals?

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Boomer with officer

Almost every week there is a story about a companion animal being locked in a car during hot weather. Although it doesn’t need to be that hot outside for the interior of a car to become very hot.

Boomer with officer

Boomer with officer. Photo: RIVERSIDE COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT

The reason why the interior of cars become very hot is because of the greenhouse effect. Think of your car as a greenhouse. The sunlight passes through the glass into the interior. Objects inside the car such as the seats warm up and radiate heat back into the interior. That heat cannot escape the windows of the car. As the heat is trapped the car interior heats up futher. The interior of the car becomes very hot. The temperatures can become very high even when outside conditions appear to be fairly mild.

The story of a puppy named Boomer serves to illustrate the problem. Boomer is a puppy who was rescued from a car in California, the interior of which reached a temperature of 131°F.

Boomer was rescued from Riverside County California. Please officers were alerted to boomer’s dire predicament after a passerby alerted them. They heard yelping from inside the car. The officers realise that the dog was in distress and not moving. They rescue the dog from the vehicle.

They placed Boomer in an air-conditioned patrol car and they took him to the Ramona Humane Society in San Jacinto, California. Police officers noted that the inside temperature had reached 131 degrees Fahrenheit as evidenced by a photograph of a thermometer which was posted on Facebook.

As a reminder, never leave children or pets alone in a vehicle for even a moment – Sheriff’s office

They re-emphasise the point by saying that a body temperature of just 107 degrees Fahrenheit may cause brain damage or death from heatstroke. Cats hardly perspire and have to eliminate heat through licking their bodies with saliva which evaporates and there is some perspiration from their paws. Dogs cool themselves by panting. Neither cats nor dogs really eliminate heat through sweating.

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