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Humane Society of Greater Rochester

In the Car

The sun beats down through the glass, magnifying the heat. As the temperature rises a dog starts to pant and move around the car with worry. The temperature continues to rise and it becomes harder and harder for the pup inside to breathe. How long did it take? Less time than her owner took inside the store… just a few minutes.

Have you ever tried to get into a car that has sat in the sun? Think of the stifling air and how you instantly started to sweat. Dogs that get left inside cars feel the same way, but also have a layer of fur that can make the heat even worse. Dogs don’t sweat in the same way we do either. They pant to keep themselves cool causing them to take in even more hot air. This can make them especially vulnerable to the heat.

Don't leave your dog in a hot car
Leaving the window open a crack may seem like a good idea, but it doesn’t really help. There is not enough air going through the window to cool the interior which often acts like an overkeeping in the heat. In many cases, it can take as little as ten minutes to see the interior of the car reach dangerous temperatures. What might have started as an innocent and quick “run into the store” could be dangerous to your pet when delayed by everyday problems like long lines. Some owners also think that leaving a dog in the car with the air conditioning on might help, but accidents can happen and are rarely worth the risk to your pet.

High temperatures can lead to irreparable organ damage and even death in a dog. When a dog’s internal temperature reaches above around 103°F, they can experience heat exhaustion, and at around 106°F can lead to organ failure or even death. Since a dog’s regular body temperature is around 99-102°F, an increase in body temperature does not take long to occur. Keep your pet safe this summer, and avoid hot cars!

If you see a pet left inside a hot car, call 911 or Humane Law Enforcement immediately! Acting quickly may save that dog’s life!
Take the pledge to never leave your pet in a hot car.

Playtime in the Sun

Dog’s love to play and run, but in the summer months, it’s important to also make sure your pet is staying cool.

Pavement and concrete can become much warmer than the ground around it, so be sure to test the ground with your hand before letting your pet walk on it. If it’s too hot for your hand it’s too hot for your pet’s feet! You can also avoid pavement altogether by choosing grassy areas, nature trails, or unpaved paths. Fun fact: Lollypop Farm has fun nature trails and a farm walk for you and your pet to explore.

Playtime in the sun
Always bring water on hikes or when you are spending lots of time out in the sun! Staying hydrated is important to people and pets alike! Did you know that there are even collapsible and portable water bowls for dogs? Watch your pet for extra panting or slowing down, as they may need a break sooner than you in warmer temperatures. Just like kids, they may be excited to spend extra time outside, but need a few extra breaks to stay safe.

Know and Watch Out for Signs of Heat Exhaustion like:

  • Dark red, blue, or discolored gums
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Excessive panting to trouble breathing
  • Muscle tremors to seizures
  • Increase in body temperature, which you may feel with your hands on less furry areas
  • Collapsing
  • Vomiting/diarrhea
  • Racing heartbeat

Too hot for spot
The best way to keep your pet safe during the warm summer months is to be cautious! Whether it is having water nearby or not bringing them with you on a quick drive to the store.