Why You Should Never Leave Your Dog in a Parked Car

You see the headlines each summer — “Neighbors Find Dog Alone in Hot Car,” “Dog Found Panting in Hot Car,” “Dog Overheats in Car While Owner Shops.”

Despite efforts to remind pet parents about the dangers of hot cars, news stories like these continue to crawl across our screens each summer.

It Only Takes 15 Minutes

For your car to reach temperatures of 117 degrees F, that is. Though more parents than ever know not to leave their pets in the car for long periods of time, many still leave their dog for “just a second” while they run into a store. Unfortunately, a second is all it takes. On an 80 degree day, it takes less than 5 minutes for temperatures in the car to reach 100 degrees. On a 90 degree day, temperatures can reach 110 in about 10 minutes.

Cool Outside Doesn’t Mean Cool Outside

As you can see, the temperature in a car varies greatly from outside temperatures. Just because it’s cool and comfortable outside, that doesn’t mean it’s comfortable in the car.

What to Do if You Spot a Dog Alone in the Car

If you see a dog left alone in a hot car, there are several things you can do to help.

  1. Take down the car’s information. Before doing anything else, write down the car’s make, model, and license number.
  2. Have the owner paged. If you’re outside a store or restaurant, go inside and ask to have the owner of the car paged.
  3. Call animal control or local authorities. If the owner cannot be found quickly, call animal control or your local authorities — they are the ones best equipped to handle the situation.

Want to do more? You can always ask stores in your community to post signs urging shoppers not to leave their pets alone in the car. You can also petition your town or state to make it illegal to leave pets in the car.

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