As we enter the end of the dog days of summer over the next few weeks, pet owners across Grand Junction and Mesa County should be aware of the dangers of leaving a dog in a car.

According to AccuWeather, a heat wave is expected through the beginning of the week for the Western United States with temperatures approaching 120-degree Fahrenheit in the deserts.

Temperatures are expected to climb 5 to 10% above normal in most communities from the deserts of California and Arizona to Idaho and Washington, the report said.

As such, those that need errands run this week should consider leaving the dog at home.

Mesa County Animal Services urges pet owners to never leave a pet in a parked car in warm or hot weather.

According to the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, already this year there have been at least 30 dogs and cats that have died after being left inside parked cars.

Cracked or tinted windows won't protect pets from overheating as cars can get up to more than 120 degrees in minutes when it's 80 degrees or higher outside.

In a study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, leaving the windows opened slightly did not significantly slow the heating process or decrease the maximum temperature. The study, which included measuring the temperature in an uncovered vehicle in 16 different sunny days with outside temperatures ranging from 72 to 96 degrees, showed an average internal temperature increase of 40 degrees with an average increase of 3.2 degrees every five minutes.

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