Leaving Dogs in a Car: Is it Too Hot or Cold?

dog in car

Most dogs love riding in a car; feeling the breeze on their fur and new smells makes them want to indulge in car rides as much as possible.

However, pet travel on indefinite car rides would mean a substantial amount of time; the dog will be left in the car as you run errands.

Messes from your dog can be prevented by using a Ruff Rug Pet Cargo Liner but you also need to keep your dog safe too. This article highlights dog safety and what to do when you see a dog in a car on a really hot day.


dog in car


How Quickly Does Temperature Rise or Fall for a Dog?


According to pediatrics studies, when ambient temperatures are at 80 degrees, the temperatures in cars can quickly reach between 134 to 180 degrees. The temperature scale goes up within the first 30 minutes of leaving the car – making the dog experience heat exhaustion when its body temperature hits 103 degrees.


Leaving the window slightly open or parking in the shade can help reduce the circumstances. However, cars are not conductors; they will still amplify the surrounding temperature, making the temperatures inside unbearable. Leaving the dog on a freezing day is just as bad as a hot day; it risks acquiring hypothermia.


The car can conduct cold from the surroundings and quickly become a refrigerator, while you’ll be able to protect your dog from external elements; leaving it in a car on a chilly day can leave it vulnerable to hypothermia. This is a dangerous condition that makes the core body temperature of your dog low. If left untreated, it can cause brain injury, coma, and death.


Is Leaving Your Dog in a Car Safe?


The maximum time frame where it’s okay to leave your dog in a car is five minutes – when the outdoor temperature is above freezing point and below 70 degrees. Here are tips that can help you to safely pet travel.


  • Make sure you’re back from running your errands after five minutes. Don’t get distracted at any moment because the outcome will hurt your dog.
  • Park in a shady spot and crack open a window.
  • If you have a friend or loved one along, let them stay with the dog in the car.


Safe Ways to Run Errands with Your Dog


Instead of leaving your dog in a car to run errands, there are other alternatives you can do to ensure your dog is safe.

Ask the business premise you’re visiting if they allow dogs. You may be surprised to learn that many businesses allow dogs inside if they’re on a leash or carrier. However, some premises might not allow dogs inside due to health safety measures.


Businesses are thinking about our furry friends and have gone a mile further to ensure they’re safe from heat exhaustion or hypothermia by installing kennels in their businesses. You’ll be able to put away your dog safe while you shop.


Often businesses will publish their policy regarding dogs being allowed in their stores. It may start with a quick Google search regarding their policy or on the business contact page. Often it might be as simple as making a quick phone call to them.


If you have a passenger, it’s better for them to stay with the dog. It’s also advisable to keep your dog at home or drop them in a kennel, particularly if you’re going to places that don’t allow dogs on the premises.


Signs Your Dog is Overheating

It might be difficult to tell if your pup is overheated in a hot car but it’s good to make sure to know the symptoms of overheating. Often dogs will have frantic panting that leads them to lose a lot of saliva.

Extreme salivation is your dog’s response to try to cool itself down in a hot environment. Also, labored breathing can show that a dog is being overheated and is a major warning sign.

Each of these symptoms together is a clear warning sign that your pup is heading toward a metabolic meltdown. Once a temperature of around 106 F is reached, dogs can no longer cool themselves down in natural ways.


How to Tell if Your Dog is Too Cold

Dog owners also need to be clear if their dog’s body temperature is dipping. Clear warning signs of a cold down will be shown in a dog shaking/shivering.

Often the dog will look like they’re uncomfortable, looking anxious and having a posture that looks hunched and a tail between its legs.

Dogs will also naturally try to stop walking or look for places to rest in the shelter, attempting to regain strength and heat.

Also, potentially a dog just looks like they’re lifting their paws off the ground in an unusual way. If any of these are noticed, it’s good to get your dog in a warm place.


What Happens When You See a Dog in a Car Within Extreme Conditions?


The first step to take when you see a dog in a dangerous car situation is to locate the owner of the car, especially if the temperatures outside are 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Take pictures of the car plate and the model of the car.


If you can’t find them or have ignored your plight, you can then go ahead to call the authorities. Most states have laws limiting the acts of leaving pets in a car. This means the parent pet will have to face the consequences of their actions.


Notably, breaking into the car should be a last resort. The step is thought to be legal in some states, but it’s better to let the authorities handle the situation.


Final Note!

As much as pet travel is fun, your dog’s safety should be your top priority. Leaving a dog in your car may be fine in some circumstances, but it is generally a bad idea. Better leave them in the safety and comfort of your home if you’re going to places where dogs are restricted from entering inside.


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