When it’s 70 degrees outside, the interior temperature of your car can reach 100 degrees in 30 minutes. At 85 degrees outside, it only takes 10 minutes for the interior temperature of a vehicle to get up to 102 degrees, and in 30 minutes can reach 120 degrees. Long story short: when it’s hot outside, it’s even hotter inside your car. You know this, we all do. Yet some people still choose to leave their animals inside their cars while they’re off running errands.

Dogs and cats pant to cool off, but panting alone isn’t enough to keep their body temperature within the normal range when they’re trapped inside a hot car. Providing water, and cracking windows is helpful, but neither provide the reprieve from heat that the animal needs. Although all animals are at risk, older animals, or ones with compromised health are at greater risk for suffering heatstroke.

Leave your pet at home if you’ll be out running errands on a hot day.   

What should you do if you see an animal left inside a hot car? If the animal is in need of immediate relief from the heat, call Animal Control or the police department right away. Otherwise, go into the store/place of business and have an employee try to locate the owner to bring the matter to their attention.

If you can’t locate the owner, contact Animal Control.

If your dog has to be outside in your yard on a really hot day, provide adequate shade for him to rest in, a big bowl of water to drink, and maybe a small plastic pool to cool off in.

Watch for symptoms of heat stroke, such as: heavy panting, staggering, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, excessive thirst, seizures, unconsciousness.

If your animal shows signs of heat stroke, take them to a veterinarian immediately. If you’re unable to transfer them to a vet right away, call your vet or an emergency clinic for advice on how to lower your pet’s body temperature safely (lowering body temperature too quickly can also have adverse effects). Getting your pet to a veterinarian as quickly as possible is very important. Heat stroke can cause irreversible organ damage that can take place within minutes.


Vienna, enjoying a little sun (before heading back in for some air conditioning).


Kim Smith

Hello and welcome! Once upon a time I was a licensed animal nurse. When I had my first child I decided to leave my career and stay at home with baby. Having a child changed my perception of everything...food, products, environment, education, work, life. Everything. Since then I've been on a journey to create a more simple, holistic way of life for my family, to include the cats, dogs and chickens (and any other feathered or furry creature we have). I believe that every choice we make can bring us closer to, or take us farther away from, a harmonious existence. And our wellbeing is multi-faceted, if one area of our life is out of whack it effects everything else about us. What we eat, what we put on and in our bodies, how we integrate with our environment, how we spend our time with loved-ones, how we nourish our brains and imaginations...it ALL matters. I want to share information with you that I find truly valuable in living holistically; taking care of our whole selves. Thank-you for visiting! Kim Smith All photos used are my own, unless otherwise noted.

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