The Dangers of Leaving your Pet in a Hot Car

The Dangers of Leaving your Pet in a Hot Car

Leaving your pet in the car during the spring, summer, and even fall months is never a good idea, no matter how briefly you plan on being away from the vehicle. Even if it’s a temperate day outside, temperatures inside cars – even with the windows cracked open – can reach dangerously high levels in just minutes, leading to serious health concerns or even death for pets left inside them. As such, it’s important to remember that leaving your pet behind when you leave the car is simply not an option. In this blog post, we discuss why you should never leave your pet in a hot car and what alternatives are available. 

How Hot is too Hot?

Once the temperature outside reaches 70°F, your car can quickly become an oven for your pet. In a matter of minutes, temperatures inside the car can reach 106°F or higher, even with windows partly open. When temperatures soar inside cars, pets’ bodies cannot cool down fast enough, making them susceptible to heat stroke.Symptoms of heat stroke include excessive panting, drooling, weakness, and in more serious cases organ failure, seizures, and even death.

Dehydration is another consequence of pets being left in hot cars. This occurs when an animal is unable to replace lost body fluids (water and electrolytes) that are essential for healthy functioning. Dehydration can quickly become a medical emergency and contribute to heatstroke. 

Is it Illegal? 

Leaving your pet in the car for a few minutes may seem harmless, but in some states – 31 different states to be exact – it’s illegal! Published through Michigan State University’s Animal Legal & Historical Center, the law states that those who leave a “companion animal unattended in a parked vehicle” and if the conditions “endanger the animal’s life,” the law is violated.

Now some state laws take it a step further, allowing bystanders to rescue animals from locked cars during extreme weather conditions. Other states require that specific people are called upon as the “rescue” squad, which includes law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and animal control.

The consequences of leaving your pet in the car vary from state to state. Some penalties could mean a fine of a couple hundred to thousands of dollars; while others could include jail time. 

Alternatives to Leaving your Pet in the Car

Hire a pet sitter or ask a friend to pet sit – Ask a friend to come over and play with your pet while you take care of your errands. Of course, when a longer errand is planned, a pet-sitting service or doggie daycare can be a great option too. 

Bring your pet with you – You can always ask the business you’re visiting if you’re allowed to bring your pet along while you do your shopping or get a bite to eat. You may be surprised to learn how many businesses are happy to allow pets inside, as long as they’re on a leash or in a carrier. Due to health codes, not all businesses are legally able to do this, but it never hurts to ask.

Leave your pet at home – The safest option is to leave your pet at home! Especially if you’ll be making stops at stores or restaurants where pets are not allowed. Just think about it, when you get back home, your best friend will be there, safe and healthy – and certainly happy to see you.  

Your Pets are our Priority!

At the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), our number one priority is to promote the health and well-being of your pets. That is why we created the NASC Audit Program and the Quality Seal, which helps you identify animal health and nutritional supplements that come from responsible suppliers committed to producing the highest quality, most consistent products available. Visit our website to learn more and to see a list of NASC members that have earned the Quality Seal.