Second Chance: Hot Diggity Dog

Second Chance: Hot Diggity Dog

Sizzling, burning, feverish, fiery, sweltering, torrid, blazing, scorching, blistering, sultry, sweltering, roasting, cooking.

Am I describing the many shades of summer?

Actually what I am talking about what it feels like inside of a hot car.

Because dogs can’t talk – I will do the talking for them: Do not leave them in your car in the summertime.



Here is why:

It takes only minutes for a pet left in a vehicle on a warm day to succumb to heatstroke and suffocation. Most people don’t realize how hot it can get in a parked car on a balmy day. However, on a 78 degree day, temperatures in a car parked in the shade can exceed 90 degrees – and hit a scorching 160 degrees if parked in the sun (in 30 minutes or less)!

Even when the outside air temperature is in the 60s, temperatures inside some vehicles can reach the danger zone on bright, sunny days. Rolling down a window or parking in the shade doesn’t guarantee protection either, since temperatures can still climb into the danger zone there too. So, Second Chance and I recommend not leaving pets in parked cars even for short periods if temperatures are 60s or higher. 

Still not getting it?

Animals are not able to sweat like humans do. They cool off by panting and sweating through their paws. With only overheated air to breathe, they can collapse, suffer brain damage and possibly die of heatstroke. Just 15 minutes can be enough for an animal’s body temperature to climb from a normal 102.5 to deadly levels that will damage their nervous and cardiovascular systems, often leaving an animal comatose, dehydrated and at risk of permanent impairment or death.

Because not everyone fully grasps the severity of this form of negligence, animal welfare organizations like Second Chance Humane Society advise witnesses to report an animal left in a hot car to law enforcement by dialing 911. Do not try to release the animal yourself as the animal, or the owner, may react negatively to such efforts. Write down a description of the dog, the car, the license plate and note the time you first noticed the animal in this dangerous situation. All this information will be helpful to law enforcement personnel when they arrive.

Heatstroke is one of the summer’s most frequent canine afflictions and one of the most lethal! Symptoms are not always be visible right away, but they might include: vigorous panting, unsteady gait, lethargy or agitation, thick saliva or froth at the mouth, rigid posture, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, collapsing and signs of shock.

There are two options for preventing these real danger to your dog in the summer. 1) Leave your dog at home (if leaving them in the car is the only option); 2) Get a cat instead of a dog.

Cats are smart. We like to stay home and laze about in the cool house or under a cool bush in the summertime. We don’t want to go in cars in the first place. Only crazy dogs like going for car rides. Cars are stupid. Why would you ever want to get in one of those contraptions and leave home anyway?

Be smart. Adopt a cat like me.

My name is Beau and I am a six-year-young, black-and-white, medium-hair cat. I am a 14-pound gentle giant who enjoys my independence but also, once I get to know you, will let you rub my tummy.  Although I am learning to tolerate other cats and dogs you really don’t need them. You only need me.  (Ha, and you thought I was writing about not leaving your dogs in hot cars…)


But if you do make the mistake of still wanting a dog, than I would recommend Mason. He is a seven- year-old, white-and-tan cocker spaniel puppy mill survivor. He gets along great with other smaller dogs and enjoys their company. Mason still needs work on leash training, but is picking it up well. As would be expected, he takes time to warm up to others – but his sweet nature makes it worth the wait.

Just don’t ever leave him in a hot car.



Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.

Ted Hoff & Magnificent Mae

By the by, there is no better place to park your pup or get your pup (or adult dog) trained than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online:

Vetting the Vet: Dr. Michelle Dally, DVM, J.D. is Medical Director of Second Chance Humane Society. She also has a private practice, Dally Veterinary Medicine, 333 S. Elizabeth Street, Ridgway, Colorado. Her service area is  San Miguel Mesas, Placerville, Ridgway, Ouray, and Montrose. For more on Dr. Dally, go here.

Michelle & Wallowby

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