Nebraska Humane Society shows how quickly heat in vehicles can turn dangerous for pets

Warmer weather is here, and with it comes a warning: Don't leave pets in hot cars.
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 6:52 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Now that the warm weather is here, the Nebraska Humane Society gave a good reminder on why you should think about your pets when you’re out and about with them.

They said they responded to 436 calls for pets left in vehicles last year. So far this year, they’ve received 66 of them, and that we’re just now entering the peak season for such incidents.

So to show how quickly the heat can turn up, they had two of their Animal Control officers sit in a car for 30 minutes.

Even on an overcast day like Wednesday and with the windows cracked, temperatures in the vehicle jumped from 82 to 96 degrees in around 10 minutes.

They said the 90-degree mark is when it becomes potentially deadly for your furry friends.

“People need to be educated,” field operations Vice President Steve Glandt said. “We need to get the message out more aggressively to people to let them know that this is a concern.”

As for the two officers in the car, they said they’ve seen animals die in hot vehicles, but that they didn’t know how bad it was until after experiencing it firsthand.

“Around the 10-to-15-minute mark, it got stuffy to the point where it was hard to breathe,” Beck McMahon said. “The air was really thick. I can only imagine the animal in the car. They can’t sweat, so the only option is to pant, so they’re exerting their energy from panting.”

What should you do if you see a pet in a hot vehicle?

The humane society said not to take extreme measures. Instead, give Animal Control a call and their officers will do anything they can to get into the vehicle and rescue the pet, even if it results in vehicle damage.