Leaving a dog in a hot car can lead to brain damage or worse, death. It takes only 15 minutes for a dog in a hot car to succumb to the heat. Dogs pant to cool themselves and sweat through their par pads, and being kept in a hot car is dangerous. Learn what to do if you see a dog in a hot car.
People make the mistake of leaving their pets in their car, if just for a minute, to run an errand. But within a short period of time, your car can heat up fast and can be a deathtrap for dogs. Dogs cool themselves by panting and by releasing heat through their paws; so on warmer days the air and upholstery in your vehicle can quickly heat up which may make it impossible for dogs to cool themselves.
Is it Against The Law To Leave a Dog in a Hot Car?
Yes, and it’s a misdemeanor to do so in the State of Minnesota. According to Minnesota Statute 346.57 DOGS AND CATS IN MOTOR VEHICLES:
Subdivision 1.Unattended dogs or cats.
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.
§ Subd. 2.Removal of dogs or cats.A peace officer, as defined in section 626.84, a humane agent, a dog warden, or a volunteer or professional member of a fire or rescue department of a political subdivision may use reasonable force to enter a motor vehicle and remove a dog or cat which has been left in the vehicle in violation of subdivision 1.
A person removing a dog or a cat under this subdivision shall use reasonable means to contact the owner of the dog or cat to arrange for its return home. If the person is unable to contact the owner, the person may take the dog or cat to an animal shelter.
Never leave your pet in a parked car when the outside temperature is above 70 degrees. Not even with the windows partway down, not even in the shade, not even for a quick errand. Dogs and cats can’t sweat like humans, so they pant to lower their body temperature. If they’re inside a car, recycling very hot air, panting gives no relief, and heat stroke can happen quickly.
-– Michael Dix DVM, Medical Director, Best Friends Animal Society
When you see a dog in, what you believe, to be a hot car, do the following
- Take down the information of the vehicle (Make, Model, Colour and License Plate) and the location
- Go into the nearest store and ask the manager or store clerk to call for the customer who may own the dog. Hopefully the dog’s owner is in the store and will come forward.
- Go back to the vehicle and stay with the dog to monitor it’s health. Don’t wait for the dog’s owner, call the police immediately to help the animal. You could call animal control, but time is of the essence as you don’t know how long the dog has been in the vehicle.
- If all else fails, do what you think is appropriate and necessary to save the dogs life.
“Children have died in cars with the temperature as low as 63 degrees. Basically the car becomes a greenhouse. At 70 degrees on a sunny day, after a half hour, the temperature inside a car is 104 degrees. After an hour, it can reach 113 degrees.”
-– Jan Null, adjunct professor at San Francisco State University (source)
Doesn’t leaving the window open a couple of inches help keep the car cool?
No. A study by Red Rover demonstrated that the temperature in a vehicle did not differ much with the windows fully up and a vehicle with the windows open a few inches.
Heat stroke can permanently damage a pet’s health very rapidly. The change of only a few degrees to a dog’s normal body temperature can quickly result in coma, organ dysfunction, permanent brain damage or even death.
— Jules Benson, DVM, Medical Director, Pet Plan Pet Insurance
Please share this article with friends, family and other pet owners. It could help save the life of a dog or cat. Please write your comments below and let us know your thoughts and feelings about a dog in a hot car.