Why You Should Never Leave Your Dog in a Hot Car

We’re in the hottest part of summer, and although road trips can be fun for humans, our furry friends can suffer. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, each year hundreds of dogs suffer heatstroke after being left in hot cars without proper ventilation. Here are quick facts about the dangers your dog faces in a hot car:

When it’s 80 degrees outside, after …

  • 10 minutes, your interior car temperature will reach 99 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 20 minutes, the interior temperature will rise to 109 degrees
  • 30 minutes, the temperature will exceed 114 degrees
Why You Should Never Leave Your Dog in a Hot Car.


Even with every window open, your car’s interior temperature can rise to a level that can cause your pet to go into shock, which in turn can lead to organ failure and death. Dogs can’t regulate their internal temperatures the same way humans can, which makes cooling more difficult for them.

A number of factors determine the types of dogs most at risk for overheating in a car. Dogs that are young, elderly or overweight, those with short muzzles, and those with heavy or dark coats are included in the most at-risk category. In addition, Pennsylvania law states that leaving your dog or cat in a parked car on a hot day is endangerment. Owners can face charges.

Here are travel safety tips for when you and your pet hit the road:

  • Carry a gallon of cold water
  • Exercise or allow your pet to play outside during the cooler parts of the day (dawn and dusk)
  • Never leave your dog unattended in the car, even for a short time. It takes only six minutes for a dog to go into shock

If you suspect your dog is suffering heat exhaustion or heatstroke:

  • Soak your pet in cool water, making sure water does not enter its nose or mouth
  • Call a vet and seek emergency care

If you see a dog that appears to be in distress in a hot car:

  • Try to locate the owner, and call 911 or animal control
  • DO NOT try to break into the car to free the dog—let the professionals handle that
  • Stay near the car while waiting for help to arrive

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Stay Cool in the Heat

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