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 printed up some flyers that I put on the windshield. If the dog is in distress, I'd break the window and call the police. Typically I'll follow the dog owner and tell them that its too hot out and their dog could die and I'll call the police if they do not return to the car right away. This has worked in the past...I've had 2 people leave stores and return to their cars. I'm shocked at the ignorance of people who will still take their dogs for rides on warm or hot days just to sit in the car. Anything can happen and they are better off at home safe.

Kea Meyers

I actually just dealt with this situation this past weekend. When I saw the dog in the car, I immediately went into the restaurant where the car was parked asking who owned the car. I told him that I was going to call the police if he did not remove the dog from the car. He turned on the A/C, but I still called 911 and the local Animal Patrol officers.


what i would do if no one is around what i would do is see if any doors are unlocked if so get the animal out and take it to the aspca if its all locked i would bus the back window and get the dog out as fast as possible.

Please note and should be bolded:
"Local law officials have the ability to enter vehicle and rescue the pet. Do not leave until help has arrived."

There is a legal reason for this.

Peter Piper

I love all these wing nuts declaring they would smash the window open under any circumstance, ask questions later, and deal with whatever consequence came. I bet not a single one of them has ever had to run into a store for 2 minutes after bringing their dog home from the vet! B.S. how many of you hyperbolizers have actually BROKEN a window to free a dog? Don't speculate on what you would do, you're all adults who have seen a dog in a car -- what HAVE you done?


I was recently a guest poster on my friend's blog addressing this very topic:

I also started a petition, encouraging people to pledge to leave pets at home when possible, and call the authorities if they see an animal left in a potentially hot car:

I think most people know hot cars are dangerous for animals, but people may not realize how quickly the car's interior heats, even on a seemingly moderate day. Thanks ASPCA for reinforcing this important topic.


I have called the police in a situation like this.


I would steal the dog and give him a loving home.

Rose Goodloe

I did find 2 dogs left in cars in front of a grocery store. I went in as a member of the Humane Society and informed the lady that she could not do that. She said she had to check out with her groceries so I offered to hold her dogs on leash outside until she checked out. I was proud that I was a voice for the dogs. :)

only a jerk would do that