Hot Car Safety


If it's above 70 degrees outside, it's too hot to leave your pets in the car.

Even with a window cracked open it can quickly reach deadly temperatures inside!

Early signs of heat stroke can be observed in dogs left in hot cars for as few as 10 minutes. Advanced stages may be reached by the 15-20 minute mark.

Dogs that are brachycephalic (short-faced), such as Bulldogs, Boxers, Japanese Chins, and Pekingese, have an especially hard time in the heat because they do not pant as efficiently as longer-faced dogs. Keep your brachycephalic dog inside with air-conditioning.

Elapsed Time Temperature Outside (°F)
  70 75 80 85 90 95
  Temperature in Car (°F)
10 Minutes 89 94 99 104 109 114
20 Minutes 99 104 109 114 119 124
30 Minutes 104 109 114 119 124 129
40 Minutes 108 113 118 124 128 133
50 Minutes 111 116 121 126 131 136

Heat stroke can be the serious and often fatal result of a dog's prolonged exposure to excessive heat.

Early Stages of Heat Stroke:
  • Heavy panting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Bright red gums and tongue
  • Standing 4-square, posting or spreading out in an attempt to maintain balance
Advanced Stages of Heat Stroke:
  • White or blue gums
  • Lethargy, unwillingness to move
  • Uncontrollable urination or defecation
  • Labored, noisy breathing
  • Shock
If your dog begins to exhibit signs of heat stroke you should soak with cool water (not ice!) down to the skin, immediately call us, and bring him directly to the office!

How Can I Help?

We know most folks know better than to leave their pets alone in the car, even for a few moments. But do you know what to do if you see someone else's pet left alone?

How to Help a Pet Left in a Hot Car:

  • Take down the car's make, model and license-plate number.
  • If there are businesses nearby, notify their managers or security guards and ask them to make an announcement to find the car's owner.
  • If the owner can't be found, call the non-emergency number of the local police or animal control and wait by the car for them to arrive.

Other Ways to Help:

  • Get informed: Learn your town's laws about leaving pets in hot cars now.
  • Get ready to call for help: Gather the essential telephone numbers and have them on hand. You’ll want to have your local animal-control agency's number and the police department's non-emergency number so you can quickly report the situation. Keep these numbers in your purse, your car's glove compartment or programmed into your phone.
  • Spread the word: Distribute The Humane Society of the United States hot car flyer, which spells out the dangers of leaving pets in parked cars. Order more flyers on animalsheltering.org.
  • Get involved: Ask local store managers, shopping malls, restaurants and other businesses to post signs asking customers not to leave their pets in their cars while shopping, dining or engaging in other activities.
  • Speak up: If your town doesn't have a law prohibiting leaving pets in parked cars, contact your local representatives or attend a town hall meeting to start lobbying for one.

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