Stop leaving dogs in hot cars!

I originally wrote this post in August of last year, however, with summer upon us and it being Memorial Day weekend, I wanted to remind you all about the dangers of leaving your dog in the car.


Last week I attended an event at, a dog sitting service (with a pot bellied pig and a few cats too) that got it’s start here in Seattle. I chatted with fellow dog lovers, met some fabulous dogs and learned a little too.

The day after the event, I was at the grocery store and spied this dog in the car next to mine. Folks, it was HOT.  The window was barely cracked. I was furious. I took a photo, then went inside the store with my daughter and had the owner paged.

Then I came home and started researching what happens to the temperature in cars.

Don't leave your dog in a hot car!

For example, when it’s 70 degrees outside, the temperature in your car can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes.  This past Monday, it was about 95 degrees here at 5pm here in Seattle. We’re normally used to cooler temperatures, which means the risk for Seattle dogs getting left in hot cars is pretty high.  🙁

Did you know:

Unlike humans, dogs do not sweat. Panting is their only way to cool off, and when temperatures are rising quickly, it’s just too inefficient.

If the outside temperature is 85º, it only takes ten minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102º, even when the windows have been left open an inch or two.

Within 30 minutes, the car’s interior can reach 120º. When the temperature outside is a pleasant 70º, the inside of your car may be as much as 20 degrees hotter.

If you’ve left your dog in the car (or longer than you anticipated, which is always the case) you need to provide water immediately, but NOT ice water. If your pet is not behaving normally, then you need to get your pet out of the heat and sun right away.

Do not start by blasting cold air with the aircon, or dowsing your dog in ice water. Gradually bring your dog back to comfortable temperature and check them for the following:

Excessive panting
Increased heart beat
Discolored/darkened tongue
Lethargic behavior

If you see a pet in a vehicle on a hot day, take immediate action. But do not be tempted to break any windows. While most states have laws against leaving animals in cars, you do not want to be charged with damaging someone’s property.

Instead, write down or take a photo of the car make, model, color and tag number, then go to the nearest stores and ask the managers to page the owner.

Call the police since they often respond much faster than animal control departments. The police have the ability to enter the vehicle and rescue the animal.

Please, leave your dog at home. Heatstroke can be fatal. Don’t risk them dying a cruel death by leaving them in your car on a hot day.

About Kerri Jablonski

Kerri Jablonski AKA The Maven lives in Seattle,WA with her 3 kids (2008, 2010, 2013), husband, cats and backyard chickens. Two of her children have special needs. Kerri enjoys cooking, travel, movies and spending time with her family.


  1. I don’t have a dog but I can’t understand how people leave their pets or kids in hot cars. The news lately has been so disturbing. This is a great post to raise awareness about not making that mistake.

  2. My husband tries to do this with our dog – I will tell him how dangerous it is!

    • I hope he listens. I would hate for something to happen to your dog. The problem is, he may think he’s just running into the store, but we all know the one time you’re in a hurry, you always get that one line at the checkstand…

  3. I just don’t understand why this is such an ongoing problem. Thank you for posting about this. It’s so important to keep our pets safe! That’s all they have is US! Leave them home!!!!

    • It’s sad isn’t it? People forget that a few minutes can easily change. You may be running in to grab one thing from the store, and end up in a 20 minute cashier line.

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