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Humane Society of Greater Rochester

When temperatures rise, leaving pets locked in a car can be dangerous. High temperatures can cause irreparable organ damage and even death. You can take these steps to protect pets in warm weather. In the below article, you’ll learn how to help a pet left in a hot car, safety facts, and other ways you can help prevent pets from being put in harm’s way.

In the “couple minutes” that it takes to run into a store, a car can reach up to 120°F. Not only can this cause serious distress, but potentially permanent organ damage and even the death of a pet.

How to Help a Pet Left in a Hot Car

If you see a pet locked alone in a hot car and exhibiting signs of stress, take the following steps to help save the pet’s life:

  • Take down the car’s make, model, and license plate number. Note the time that you first noticed the pet in the car.
  • Call Lollypop Farm’s Humane Law Enforcement at (585) 223-6500 to report the pet in the car, or call 911. In New York State, it is against the law to leave a pet in a hot car.
  • Notify store managers or security guards nearby. Ask them to make an announcement to find the car’s owner and that the dog left in the car needs help.
  • Keep at a respectful distance until the pet’s owner or law enforcement arrives. Make certain that help has arrived before you leave the scene to be sure the pet is safe.
Call Lollypop Farm’s Humane Law Enforcement at 585-223-6500 or 911 to report a pet locked in a hot car.

Know Your Facts

Don’t break the window! It may be tempting to rush to rescue a pet locked in a car, but leave this to the authorities. In New York State, only law enforcement or peace officers (like Lollypop Farm’s Humane Law Enforcement) can legally take measures to remove a pet from a car. We recommend calling Lollypop Farm’s Humane Law Enforcement at (585) 223-6500 to report the pet in the car or calling 911.

Dogs can’t sweat. Dogs and cats can’t perspire to regulate their body temperature as people do.  They can only deal with the heat by panting and through the pads of their feet. So it’s harder for pets to handle warm temperatures than for us.  Signs of a dog in distress include heavy panting, glazed eyes, excessive drooling, unsteadiness, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, or even loss of consciousness.

Cars act like an oven in warm weather. The temperature inside your car can heat up to 120° F in just a matter of minutes. Rolling the down windows has been shown to have little effect on the temperature inside a car. And leaving the air conditioning on and the car running doesn’t guarantee your pet’s safety—in many cars, the air system’s compressor will shut off when the engine gets too hot.

Think of alternatives to leaving your pet in the car

  • Use the drive-through for errands when available.
  • Bring a friend who can play with your pet outside while you run your errand.
  • Shop at pet-friendly stores and bring your pet with you!
  • Eat at an outdoor café where your pet can sit with you.
  • Leave your pet at home where it’s cool and safe.

Other Ways to Help

Support Humane Law Enforcement. You can be a hero to pets left in cars with your donation to enable Lollypop Farm’s Humane Law Enforcement to respond when pets are in distress and hold owners accountable.

Spread the Word. Pass this information along to other animal lovers and help keep everyone’s pet safe.