HOT DOG ALERT!
As I'm sure you've noticed, Spring has suddenly sprung in Sacramento. Today is warm, and the temp is going to get increasingly warm as the week progresses. It's predicted to hit the 80s, and that means if you are in the habit of taking your dog along with you for the ride in your car in wintertime, parking him when you parked the car (I really hope you don't because it's not safe to do so for many reasons), then it's definitely time now to leave Rover or Fifi at home.
These warm, sunny days mean that your car's interior is going to get up to dog baking degrees in a hurry, and that means big trouble for your dog. If you aren't yet aware of the dangers a hot car poses to pets, please do your pet a favor and take time to acquaint yourself with them now. Better yet, take Red Rover's MY DOG IS COOL pledge. Cracking the car windows and leaving the dog in the shade don't do a damn thing to protect the animal from heatstroke. Shade changes position throughout the day with the sun, and even opening windows wide doesn't mean your dog won't overheat. He doesn't have sweat glands like we do and can't cool himself as efficiently, so you must take extra precautions to keep him safe. That also applies to your backyard. Make sure your dog has a shaded area that will stay shaded throughout the day and that he has plenty of fresh, cool water to drink.
PLEASE, PLEASE don't leave your dog in the car to suffer irreversible damage to his brain or internal organs and ultimately die. The internal damage done to him from heat stroke isn't always apparent until later. If he is panting heavily, has a glazed look in his eyes and seems frantic, then he's in distress from overheating. Waste no time getting him home and run cool, not cold, water over him to get his temperature down. Then it's off the vet with him for a full checkup. Wouldn't it be less costly to you and your pet to leave him at home in the first place?
Aside from the danger of heatstroke, pets regularly get stolen from cars, sometimes even by well-intentioned pet lovers who think thoughtless, negligent owners who'd leave a dog in a car to die really don't deserve them. I agree! In a day when people's attention spans are diminishing and there are so many distractions to diminish them even further, it's just too easy to lose track of the time that you'll be inside the grocery store or, doG forbid, a mall. Of course, if you have a service dog, that means he can go inside stores with you, at least until more local businesses relax their rigid rules about pets in stores. I saw a dog riding in a shopping cart at an Office Max the other day. No one complained. That aside, the best way to ensure your pet's safety is leave him at home. If he's anything like my dogs, he'll appreciate a little quiet nap time while you run your errands.