We field the question of “How hot is too hot?” a lot. It’s a pertinent issue, particularly in the summer or in areas that tend to be warmer all year round. Here is our hot car safety guide.
When It’s Safe to Leave Your Pet in the Car
When it comes to leaving your pet alone in the car, we always say to err on the safe side. If you aren’t sitting next to them, it’s impossible to know if your car is a safe temperature. Car temperature can increase by 30 degrees in a matter of minutes — especially if the windows are closed and the car is in the sun — so even a 70-degree day is too hot.
Whenever in doubt, simply leave your pet at home, or if possible, have someone stay in the car with your pet. Also be sure to park in the shade. While cracking windows might help, it’s been proven that it has little effect on a car’s interior temperature.
What You Should Do if You Find a Pet in a Hot Car
We’ve all seen it: a dog pressed against the window of a car in the sun. If you wait for a few minutes by the car and the owner doesn’t return, there are the steps you should take immediately. Taking these actions could save a life!
- Quickly scan the parking lot for the pet’s owner. Ask nearby folks if the car is theirs.
- Write down the car’s make, model and license plate number.
- Dash into any local businesses and ask managers or security guards if they can alert customers to the situation.
- If you can’t find the pet’s owner, dial the non-emergency number for the local police or animal control.
- Stay next to the car until the proper authorities arrive on the scene.
- If, and only if, your area has special laws that allow it, you may break into the vehicle to save the animal’s life. This is only an option if you have already called law enforcement!
A Note on Recent Hot Car Legislation
In certain places like California, legislators have passed laws regarding hot car safety. If you call law enforcement and they don’t arrive quickly enough to save the pet’s life, you may attempt to rescue the animal yourself. Even if you damage the vehicle, these laws protect you from civil and criminal liability.