Summer Dog Warning

Imagine you’re trapped inside a parked car. The windows are only open a crack. The temperature is rising, and you have no water. On top of all this, imagine you’re wearing a thick coat and that you have no idea when you’ll be able to get out of the car.

Did you know that a dog left in a car on a warm day can collapse from heatstroke in just minutes? Many people love their dogs and want to take them with them wherever they go. But when the mercury rises, it’s safest to leave Rover at home.  On a 78-degree day, a car parked in the sun can reach 160 degrees in minutes. Even opening windows or parking in the shade won’t prevent a dog from getting overheated. The heat is especially hard on dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paws. With only hot air to breathe, dogs and other animals can suffer irreparable brain damage and even die of heatstroke.


  • Don’t take a chance—leave your dog at home on warm days. Even just a quick trip to the store can be deadly.
  • Learn the signs of heat exhaustion: restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, rapid pulse, fever, vomiting, glazed eyes, dizziness, or lack of coordination. If your dog shows any of these symptoms, get him or her to shade or air conditioning right away. Lower body temperature gradually by providing water to drink, applying a cold towel or ice pack to the head, neck, and chest, or immersing your dog in cool (not cold) water.

Most importantly, if you see a dog left in a car, take down the car’s color, model, make, and license-plate number. Have the owner paged in nearby stores, and call local humane authorities or the police. Have someone keep an eye on the dog. If the police are unresponsive or take too long to arrive and the dog’s life appears to be in imminent danger, find a witness (or several) who will back your assessment. Take steps to remove the suffering animal, and then wait for the authorities to arrive.

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