Why You Should Never Leave Your Pet in Your Car

With summer here, that means long hot days up ahead. You may be tempted to bring your furry friend with you while you run errands. However, leaving your dog in your car can mean heat stroke… or worse. Here’s why you should never leave your pet in your car.

Even “cooler” days are too hot. It doesn’t take an extremely hot day to turn your car into an oven. Even when it is only 70 degrees outside, the temperature in your car can rise above 100 degrees in just 30 minutes! When it is 90 degrees out, temperatures can reach well over 130 inside your car. These extreme temperatures can lead to head stroke or even death. Pets that are more susceptible to the heat:

  • Are either very young or elderly
  • Are overweight
  • Have dark fur
  • Have heavy coats
  • Have shorter muzzles

Humidity makes it worse. Just like how you feel the heat more when it’s humid out, so will your dog. Additionally, dogs cool themselves by panting. This allows moisture to evaporate from their tongues. When it is more humid out, that moisture cannot evaporate as effectively.

Cracking windows and parking in the shade don’t work. Although many pet owners believe that cracking the windows or parking in the shade will keep their car cooler for longer, this just isn’t the case. Multiple studies have found that there is no discernible difference between a car that has the windows cracked and a car that doesn’t.

Running cars are a danger. Leaving your car running with the air conditioning on may seem like an easy solution to keep your pet cool and comfortable. Unfortunately, there’s a myriad of things that could go wrong. Your car could suffer a mechanical failure causing the engine and air conditioning to shut off. Your pet could bump into the gearshift or activate the vehicle in some other way, leading to an accident. Furthermore, a car with the key in the ignition is a favorable target for thieves.

It’s against the law. Depending on where you live, it could even be against the law to leave your pet unattended in your car on a hot day. Pet owners that do this can face fines or even jail time for animal cruelty. They could even be liable for charges resulting from emergency personnel rescuing their pet from the hot car.