According to Minnesota Law (346.57): A person may not leave a dog or a cat unattended in a standing or parked motor vehicle in a manner that endangers the dog’s or cat’s health or safety.

Warm weather brings increased activity. We like to take our pets with us when we run to the store or go on outings. However, leaving a pet in a vehicle could be a matter of life or death. On a summer day, the inside of a vehicle heats up quickly. On an 85° F day, the temp. in a car — with windows slightly open — will reach 102° F in 10 minutes and 120° F in 20 minutes — even in the shade.

Your pet can only withstand these temperatures for a very short period of time before suffering irreversible brain damage or even death. It’s almost impossible to run into the store for just a minute. It usually takes longer than that just to get into the store. Make the kinder and more humane choice … leave your pet home.

Other warm weather tips:

Don’t force your pet to exercise after a meal.

Don’t leave your dog standing on the street. Its paws can burn.

Keep walks to a minimum. Your pet is much closer to the hot asphalt.

Never take your pet to the beach unless you provide a shaded spot and plenty of fresh water.

Be sensitive to old and overweight pets.

Keep current ID tags on your pet.

Avoid walking your pet in areas that have recently been sprayed.

A clean coat will help prevent summer skin problems. Keep your pet groomed.

Never use a correction collar to tie your pet.

Never let your pet run loose. This is how your pet can contract a disease, be injured, killed or stolen.

Do not allow your pet to ride in the bed of a pickup truck without being safely secured.

Do not allow your pet to stick its head out the car window. A particle could injure the eye.

Be sure there are no open, unscreened windows or doors through which your pet can jump or fall.

Make sure the kennel and/or doghouse have adequate shade. A doghouse alone does not provide adequate shade. Put a tarp over the kennel area.

Finally, make sure your pet has fresh clean water at all times. Scrub the green gunk out of the water container daily.

Thank you for being a responsible pet owner. Have a good summer.

Be responsible. Have your pets spayed or neutered.

Shirley Taggart is an animal advocate. She is committed to helping animals and the people who own them.

Reach Regional Managing Editor Suzanne Rook at 507-333-3134. Follow her on Twitter @rooksuzy

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