It Takes Only Minutes: Please Don’t Leave Pets in Hot Cars!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 9:45am

Each year, thousands of beloved companions succumb to heatstroke and suffocation when left in parked cars. It happens most often when people make quick stops—the dry cleaners, the bank or the local deli. Folks, we need to be clear on this: It takes only minutes for your pet to face death—and it doesn’t have to be that hot out. On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 160 degrees. Even with the windows cracked. 

You can help save pets from dying in hot cars. Simply take the following actions: 

  • Educate people. Hang this printable flyer [PDF] up in your local grocery store, veterinary hospital, animal shelter and other local businesses.

  • If you see something, say something. If you see a dog alone in a vehicle, immediately call animal control or 911. Local law officials have the ability to enter vehicle and rescue the pet. Do not leave until help has arrived.

  • Try to find the car’s owner. If you are out and you see a dog locked in a car, tell the nearby store manager immediately. Don't be shy.

  •  And please, no matter how much your dog loves to go along when you run errands, don't take a chance. Leave her home where she is safe. 

For more information, visit our Summer Safety Tips!

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I did call 911 - they wanted to arrest ME for mis-using the service. Another time, I went in to the business and asked them to page the person who left the dog in the car and call the police - they refused any action and told me to leave the property. Ohio, The Heart of it All.

i am 4mula1

tell, there good, other than that i dont know what to say, so many heartless people in the world (shakes head!).


I would break in to the car and let someone call the police, since they would obviously rather respond to a B&E w property damage instead of rescuing a living being in distress.

Richard H

I would mind my own business. Sites like this ignore common sense to incite lawlessness. I have personally, this summer, sat in a car with my 87 year-old mother and her Chihuahua in 99 degree heat with windows rolled down less than that one in the picture (so the dog wouldn't jump out), no engine or AC running, for more than half an hour. Guess what? No one died or even suffered any ill effects. People today are so used to jumping in their air conditioned car they cannot conceive of anything living through sitting in a car for a few minutes without the AC going. So they will believe anyone that tells them an animal could die sitting in a car in 78 degree weather in just a few minutes, all facts and common sense to the contrary. The window in the car in this picture is down at least six inches. Before you encourage peope to vandalize other people's cars, maybe you should get a reality check.

Richard H

My apologies. You did not say explicitly that people should break into other people's cars, therefore you did not incite them to lawlessness. You did set the tone and then allowed every visiter to your site to incite others to break the law. There is a difference, however, and I offer my sincere apologies for my false statement.


Hey, it's great you and your mom and her dog were able to sit in the hot car for so long. Kudos to you. But you had the option to get out of the car anytime you wanted should the temp inside the car get too hot. A pet locked in a car doesn't have that option. Recklessly endangering your pet is as much lawlessness as breaking a window to free a pet in obvious distress. I get your point about inciting people to go nuts, but I think most folks are capable of telling the difference between an animal in distress where breaking a window is reasonable and just doing so because they are mad. And I think picture displayed was simply a picture...I don't think it was meant to be representative of how much a window would be rolled down in a given circumstance.


i want to note that humans produce sweat to cool themselves, dogs don't. so while humans can handle the heat by sweating, dogs cant, they can pant which helps some but they cant sweat to cool themselves so when they get too hot they die. So while you were sweating the dog was probably extremely uncomfortable and could have been close to death.

Joan Lando

You must have a high tolerance to heat, I am a nurse, the elderly many times are always cold, but do not know the dangers of heat, and your dog cannot speak, so one must take responsiblity and care. doing nothing can cost a life.


I would encourage caution in such high temperatures. According to WebMd's Pet Health site, heat exhaustion sets in when the dog's internal temperature reaches 103 degrees. (Reference:
The temperature in the car, in this situation, could have easily surpassed 103 degrees. And while it turned out okay this time, a similar situation in the future may not.

Nancy Wilchenski

I would try to figure out what store the owner was in and have a store employee announce over the speaker that someone has a concern about the dog in vehicle, etc. If that didn't work within a few minutes, I would call the police and animal abuse and tell them the situation. Of course, all these avenues depend on the condition of the animal at the time. Whatever I decided to do, believe me, that animal would not suffer any longer in the vehicle! I would take immediate action, but I don't think I would break a window, it would probably scare the animal to death.