On the other side of the state, about four hours east and a little north from here, one police department has made a handful of arrests as drivers have left their dogs in hot cars. In two incidents Friday, the internal temperatures of the vehicles was in excess of 100 degrees.

In one instance, the windows were cracked but there was no water for the dogs and the engine was not running, meaning no air conditioning was on. In the others, not even the windows were cracked. In each incident, authorities measured the temperature inside the vehicle at over 100 degrees.

Cooler temperatures are on the way, but even then, leaving a pet in a locked car with the windows rolled up, or even cracked just a little, is both dangerous and illegal.

Even if it doesn’t seem hot to a human, the American Veterinary Medical Association warns that it still may be lethal to your pet. The AVMA says that temperatures inside a car can rise 20 degrees in 10 minutes. In 20 minutes, the temperature can rise 30 degrees. In an hour, that interior temperature can rise as much as 40 degrees. As the AVMA points out, that means even on a 70-degree day, the inside of your car can reach 110 degrees.

The AVMA also cites a study by the Louisiana Office of Public Health that shows cracking your vehicle’s windows has very little effect on the interior temperature of the vehicle.

There are other dangers associated with having your pets in the vehicle with you, but leaving them locked up in the car is one of the worst things you can do. You may be darting into the store for just a few minutes but a few minutes can turn into much longer, and that could put your pet in grave danger.

As the AVMA says, before you put your pet in the vehicle, ask yourself if you really need to take your pet with you — and if the answer is no, leave your pet safely at home.

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