EUGENE, Ore. -- Leaving your pet inside of a hot car for a short amount of time still can be lethal, even as temperatures are dropping from the high temps seen this week, officials with the Eugene Fire Department said.
Even with temperatures in the low 70's it can reach over 100 degrees inside of a vehicle within a short period of time. KVAL reporter David Walker left a thermometer inside a car with the windows partially open. Within 20 minutes the temperature climbed into the range that could cause heat stroke for a dog.
Deputy Fire Marshal Amy Linder with the EFD said that dogs aren't able to deal with excessive heat like humans, because they rely solely on panting to cool down (instead of sweating like humans). Linder said that is why dogs can die inside of vehicles, even if left for a short amount of time.
"It's amazing how fast the car can heat up. It's enclosed with the glass and it turns into an oven very quickly." Linder said.
That is why Linder has started working with the department's fire dog, Casey, to get the word out to pet owners about the dangers posed to their furry friends when trapped inside a hot vehicle.
"My dogs are my best friends and I love to take them places. But this time of year, as much as they would like to go, it's in their best interest to stay home where it is cool and safe." Linder said.
That includes short shopping trips or errands that can exposeure that brings a dog's internal temperature to an unhealthy level. Linder recommends that every time you drive with a dog in the car ask yourself "Is it too hot to take my dog today?"