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How hot is your car?

Pets are especially at risk in hot cars. Keep your pet safe, and help save the lives of other pets, by knowing how hot is too hot.

Dogs and cats cannot sweat, they can only cool off by panting, exchanging hot air for cool. When pets are in a parked car exchanging hot air for hot air, they are at an immediate risk for heatstroke. This is especially true of flat-faced (brachycephalic) dogs, who can’t breathe as efficiently and can suffer overheating even on cool days.

It’s no secret that pets and cars on a sunny day do not mix. If you see a pet in danger, say something:

  1. Alert business management

  2. Call police or animal control

  3. Record vehicle information: make, model, color, license plate

  4. Stay with the pet until help arrives — you can save a life!

Pet care safety: Dogs in hot cars

On a hot day, the answer is easy: don’t.

How long can you leave your pet in the car?

No one likes waiting in the car on a hot summer day, but pets are especially at risk. Leaving your pet in a hot car is dangerous. Read on for advice about pet car safety and what to do when you see a dog in a hot car.

Dogs and cats cannot sweat; they can only cool off by panting—exchanging hot air for cool through the moisture evaporation taking place in their mouths. Pets in a hot car can only exchange hot air for the same hot air in the car. This puts them at immediate risk for heatstroke. Brachycephalic, or short-faced dogs are especially vulnerable—they can’t breathe as efficiently and can overheat even on cool days

If you see a pet in danger, say something. You can save a life!

  • Alert business management
  • Call police or animal control
  • Record vehicle information: make, model, color, license plate
  • Stay with the pet until help arrives

Hot in a hurry: temperatures inside a car rise faster than you think

Temperature outside Temperature inside vehicle
After 10 min After 30 min
70°F 89°F 104°F
75°F 94°F 109°F
80°F 99°F 114°F
85°F 104°F 119°F
90°F 109°F 124°F
95°F 114°F 129°F

Courtesy: Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University


Even with a cracked window, the inside of your car can increase to life-threatening temperatures within minutes.


Is it illegal to leave a dog in a car?

The laws can vary widely between municipalities.

Need to run errands? Do your pet a favor and leave them behind. Never leave your pet unattended in the car, even with a window cracked, and especially not in the sun. If you need to take your furry friend with you, have someone stay with them in the car and keep the air conditioning running. When in doubt, leave your pet at home.

Even with window cracked, the inside of your car can increase to life-threatening temperatures within minutes.

Need to run errands? Do your pet a favor and leave them at home. Never leave your pet unattended in the car, even with a window cracked, and especially not in the sun. If you need to take your furry friend with you, have another person stay with them in the car and keep the air conditioning running. When in doubt, leave your pet at home.

A dog and cat snuggle

Sign up for our

PET NEWSLETTER

Content curated for you and your pet, straight to your inbox. Sign up to receive:

  • Hot tips on pet health
  • The latest pet trends
  • Chances to win big
  • And more!
Sign up now