Wed, Feb. 26

Seasonal warning: never leave dog in parked car

Cottonwood Ordinance Enforcement Officer Autumn Durnez advises that heat stroke is the most preventable injury your dog could suffer. (Courtesy photo)

Cottonwood Ordinance Enforcement Officer Autumn Durnez advises that heat stroke is the most preventable injury your dog could suffer. (Courtesy photo)

One of the most common calls for service we receive here in Cottonwood is for dogs left in parked cars especially with our days becoming warmer and warmer. NEVER leave your dog or any pet unattended in a motor vehicle. Not only is it dangerous for your pet, it is a violation to City of Cottonwood municipal code 6.08.100-Protection of animals and public.

Even when the weather outside is not too extremely hot and there may be a nice breeze, the inside of your vehicle acts like an oven and temperatures can rise to dangerously high levels in a matter of minutes.

If you leave the windows down half way on a 780F day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 1000 and 1200F in under 10 minutes. On a 900F day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 1600F in less than 10 minutes.

In Arizona one of the most common injuries dogs suffer is heat stroke. Heat stroke causes damage to a dog's cellular system and organs that is often irreversible and all too often leads to death. Heat stroke is the most preventable injury your dog could suffer.

A dog's normal body temperature ranges between 1000 and 1020F depending of course on the breed, size, and health of the dog.

Dogs do not cool down the same way as people do. They pant. They also expel heat through the pads of their feet. But they cannot effectively cool themselves when they are confined to any enclosed space such as a vehicle.

Signs of heat stroke in a dog include, but are not limited to vigorous panting, tacky or dry tongue and gums, dark red gums, appearing dizzy or disoriented, increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death.

To prevent your dog from suffering from heat stroke make sure you dog always have access to cool clean water.

If your dog likes to play with its water bowl or is just constantly knocking the water bowl over, try putting a clean rock or brick in the container to add weight. If your dog can still move the bowl try using a container with a handle that can be secured to something like the fence to avoid it being easily moved around.

If you believe your dog is suffering from heat stroke, seek veterinary care immediately even if your dog's condition does not seem serious.

Water can be used to begin to decrease body temperature during the trip to the vet. Soak towels in water and use to cover your dog or place between legs and across his neck if you do not have enough.

DO NOT use ice or very cold water! Extreme cold can cause the blood vessels to constrict, preventing the body's internal temperature from cooling and actually causing the internal temperature to rise creating more risk to your dog's health.

Some dogs may recover fully from heat stroke if caught early enough and treated immediately. Other dogs suffer permanent damage and require lifelong care and unfortunately the majority do not survive. Please keep your dog safe.

If you see a dog, or any other pet left unattended inside a parked vehicle please contact the Cottonwood Police Department dispatch at 649-1397. If you are a business owner and would like to display a "Dogs Die in Hot Cars" flyer for your business please contact the Ordinance Enforcement team at 634-4246 ext 2164. For more information on City of Cottonwood ordinances please visit the City's website at

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