Why You Should Not Leave Your Dog in Parked Car?

Have you ever imagined what the poor pet dog might be feeling when that dog is left on the parked car for such a prolonged duration? Even dogs have a particular limitation.

Have you ever been left in the car on a hot summer day without any air conditioner without any significant source of ventilation except windows just cracked to an inch? How long can you survive in that atmosphere? 10 minutes? 15 minutes? 20 minutes? By the time it crosses 15 minutes, you might have jumped out of the car straight away to save yourself. That’s it; we humans cannot stay in a car for a long duration during summer even with the windows opened.

Have you ever imagined what the poor dog might be feeling when that dog is left on the parked car for such a prolonged duration? Even dogs have a particular limitation. No matter how breezing the day might feel and you think to keep the windows opened to an inch or more, but that does not give you the right to leave that poor creature in the car. And excuses like ‘I’m just coming in a minute’ or ‘it’s a breezy day and the windows are cracked are not acceptable and are utterly meaningless as each minute appears as a chase against the timer for the dog’s life.

A Popular Self-Test That Is A Must Read

Dr. Ernie Ward, a veterinarian, self-tested as to how it gets hot in the car on a hot day that recorded the temperature of 95 degrees. He decided to conduct the test in the North Carolina region, which is a partially shaded area. With all the four windows cracked to about an inch, he sat in the car with a timer and a thermometer. As time was passing, the temperature within the vehicle started rising. The initial temperature on the thermometer was 95 degree. Fifteen minutes in and the temperature raised to 110 degrees. Thirty minutes in and the temperature increased to 117 degree, which was really unbearable for him. You could watch his video here’s below:

Dogs who are trapped in the car in such a manner might feel helpless and horrible as don’t understand what’s happening and have no control on it as they are incapable of putting down the windows, open the door or turn on the A.C. They feel very frightening as there are not sure when the owners are going to be back, and their body is getting overheated slowly to the point where undoubtedly all the energy and life within their body is burnt out.

Michigan State University’s Animal Legal and Historical center shared that there are laws about animals being unattended in the vehicles written on the book in around 28 states. There are laws for the pets depicting that it is illegal to leave any pet inside the car in any condition that signals danger and also for the people who are saved by the law if they attempt to bang the windows to save an animal trapped in a hot car that’s locked.

Dogs That Succumbed To Heat On A Parked Car In The Past Year

There are several cases reported in the past year about the pet’s death as they were left in the car alone or outside to suffer from high heat in summer months. Around 63 poor pets succumbed to heat in the year 2018 and 2019. Most of them died as they were left in the car for hours on a blazing day, few died as they were tied up in a place outside without any shade and food/water to have. Other reasons included heatstroke and prolonged exposure to excessive heat.

While it is important to note that in the reasons mentioned above, the car was packed with little source of ventilation or not at all, but there were also cases reported, where the dog was left in the car with the air conditioner on and still couldn’t make it. Some just couldn’t survive while for some, the air conditioner turned off as the vehicle got shut. However, thanks to some alerted citizens as well as the cops, who have managed to not increase this ratio by rescuing many poor pets that got stuck similarly.

How Hot Does It Get In A Car?

American Veterinary Medical Association shared a chart stating the difference between the temperatures inside and outside.

  • As per the chart, if 75 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature outside the vehicle, it can reach up to 94 degrees Fahrenheit within just 10 minutes and cross 109 degrees Fahrenheit within 30 minutes inside the vehicle.
  • If it’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside the vehicle, it can reach up to 94 degrees Fahrenheit within just 10 minutes and cross 116 degrees Fahrenheit within 30 minutes within the car.
  • This significant difference in the temperature between the interior and exterior can result in death.
  • Research showed that the surfaces within the vehicle like dashboard, steering wheels, and seats can become very hot if the vehicle is parked in the sun for an hour. This is noted in both hot and cold weather.

For all those who have seen the great video by Dr. Ward, remember him perspiring in the car with the sweat cascading down all his body before they decide to take their dog in a car on a hot day.


Heatstroke Is Riskier For Some Dogs

Usually, the dogs have a close temperature range between 68 degrees and 86 degree. This range is defined as the ‘Thermo Neutral Zone.’ The dogs feel free and comfortable as they don’t need to fight the heat or spend some extra energy to stay warm.

However, this range cannot be counted as exact as it differs for different dogs based on several factors. An ideal temperature would depend on below-mentioned factors:

  • Breed of the dog: The particular dog breeds that struggle to pant more in the heat are Pugs, Boston, Terriers, and Boxers as they possess tiny nose and flat face
  • Health: This is another critical factor that affects the way how the dog reacts to the heat. In the case of older dogs, they have a hard time to deal with the heat. They might be suffering through other health issues like those related to heart, liver, kidney, or high respiratory problems. All these medical conditions impact the ability of the dog to purge the heat
  • Coat Thickness: Density of the dog’s coat also has implications as is believed that as thicker the coat, the safer it is.

Dog’s Adaptability

Dogs can adapt to any temperature within 2 months. If the temperature is lower than the dog’s skin temperature, they lose about 70 percent of heat through their skin. When the temperature shoots at 88 degrees F, instead of losing heat through the skin, they stay chill by entirely depending on the dispersal.

Dogs can’t sweat the way the humans drench at this range. Hence, they gasp for air to lessen the body heat. It should be noted that as the dog are unable to drench, they are hypersensitive to heat changes than humans, making them prone to heat stroke and injury.

Is Your Dog Suffering From Heatstroke?

Heatstroke, the deadly crisis, occurs when the body is overheated due to prolonged exposure to the heat. The most possible symptoms are listed below:

  • Restlessness
  • Too much panting where the dog struggles to grasp the air
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Inadequate craving for the food
  • Bright red tongue
  • Diarrhea
  • Salivating
  • Increase in heart rate.

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, immediately try to cool down his body temperature by making him gulp water and applying a cold towel on the head and the chest area of the dog.

After this initial treatment, take the pet to the veterinarian for a complete check as we won’t be able to determine the level of the heat stroke the dog might be suffering from and he might need some acute medical treatment.

Be Thoughtful When You Opt To Take The Dog Out On A Hot Day

On a blazing summer day, the footpaths can have a soaring temperature between 130 to 180 degrees, which is very deadly hot for the dog’s feet and can burn him as well as his feet. At first, try to avoid taking your dog out, but if it is an unavoidable circumstance, below mentioned are specific measures we need to follow strictly:

  • You need to check the intensity of the heat on the footpath with the palm of your hands. If it’s hot, it might be too hot for the dog
  • If possible, walk out in the early hours of the morning or late evenings when it’s a bit cool
  • Walk on the pathway that provides shade
  • Intermittent intervals should be taken
  • Water should be consumed
  • Avoid making the dog wear anything that hampers them from breathing like muzzles or halters
  • The dog collar should be very lightweight
  • Dogs are the loveliest creatures that always try to impress their owners by running beyond their limit. But on the hot days, this might be too dangerous. Hence, just walk.

What To Do If You See Any Animal In A Parked Car

If you see any pet trapped in a car, follow the below mentioned guidelines:

  • As a first step, jot down the details of the car like license number, make and model or click a picture of the vehicle.
  • If there is any building or anything that can help us nearby, inform the people or the guards on duty, to immediately announce the details to notify the car owner if he is nearby.
  • Most of the people will respond back immediately as they are aware of the law they have broken
  • However, if there is slow or no responses then call the cops and wait for them to arrive.
  • If your state law permits you to save the dog in such case then convince anyone nearby to be your witness before you attempt to remove the poor creature from the car if his condition seems deteriorating.

However, there are few other things that you can do to help like

  • Get aware of all the laws about animals in your state. Get handy with all the essential numbers like animal welfare’s number and police department’s non-emergency numbers and keep it at the place from where you can find easily when in need.
  • It is a must to create awareness among the society. Hence, spread knowledge about the issue and how to deal with it.
  • All the business like hotels, malls, or shop owners can post certain signs guiding the customer to not to leave their pets in the car while they are out.
  • If, unfortunately, your state has no laws for addressing this issue, gear up and try to get it enforced by meeting all those who can help.


Always remember that never leave the pets in the parked car as it is really fatal for them in high temperatures. Let us take a pledge that we will never commit any such mistake nor will allow anyone. Check on the pet at regular intervals for any heat stroke symptoms and visit the vet for his regular checkups.



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