dog panting from heat
Don't leave pets unattended in hot vehicles


Summer's here in the Northern hemisphere, and those of us who reside in this part of the world are taking advantage of longer days, seemingly endless sunshine and warmer weather. Yes, it's a great time of year where we can look forward to lots of great outdoor activities. But it's also a time of year to take precautions when it comes to extreme temperatures. And it isn't just ourselves we need to worry about, but our pets, too. Sound familiar?

Extreme Heat & Pets

As temperatures rise we need to reevaluate just how much of it we expose our furry friends to. Yes, we hear the warnings every year and see the sad and often horrific results of pets left in hot cars, but we tend to block a lot of it out. It's just too ugly and sad to bear witness to. Well, buck up, because you need to know the facts. Let's start with the fact that in a closed car the temperature can jump 19 degrees in only 10 minutes!

Pets Left in Locked Cars

How often have you run into a 7-11 or other convenience store assuming you'd be in and out in under five only to be delayed by somebody at the counter with scratch-off tickets and it's taken closer to 10 before you exit? It happens all the time. If you have a pet with you and it's hot out, hopefully you left the AC running. If not, they'll be panting pretty heavily when you return. A lot of it depends on where you live, but pets should be left at home in hot weather.

Hot Weather & Animal Laws

Due to all the incidents involving animals and kids left in sweltering vehicles the laws across the country have changed and are being strictly enforced. All of this comes down to common sense, though. If you live in Maine, for instance, and you have to run in and out of someplace and you've got your pet with you, you can probably safely leave your pet for under 10 minutes, provided you parked in lots of shade and left the windows cracked at least four inches.

Weather Extremes

Now, if you live in the Southwest, forget about it. Even parked in the shade with the windows all the way down it's not only unacceptable, but it will probably land you in a heap of trouble. The AC needs to be left on, end of story, or leave your pets at home. This is just common sense. But a lot of people don't understand just how hot it gets in a sitting car. Bear in mind even in the shade the temperature will climb in a closed car, windows cracked or not.


interior temperature chart for automobiles
Sobering statistics

Vehicle Interior Air Temperature

Because it's so hard for us to fathom how hot it can get and how quickly it happens, a handy chart was created for educating the public, and it's a real eye opener. If it's 95 degrees out, in 10 minutes it will be nearly 115 degrees in your car. How would you like to sit in that? The answer is likely a definitive "no" in most cases. Another problem is we lose track of time. What seems like five minutes is usually closer to 10 or 12.

ThermalTag & Other Pet Precautions

Due to this, an invention called the ThermalTag was being crowd funded last year on Indiegogo for the purpose of not only alerting pet parents of their animal's rising body temp, but also how much time had elapsed since they'd left them alone in the car. Another precaution you can take, if you must bring your pet with you on hot days, are cool gel mats and harness vests. Finally, once you get home offer them some homemade dog pops for cooling down and plenty of water.