Dog Death by Hot Car – 100% Preventable

How to avoid becoming one of this summer’s “Dog dies in hot car” statistics:

  1. If the weather can be described as warm, hot, or not cold – do not leave your dog unattended in the car.
  2. When in doubt about whether it would be ok to leave your dog in the car, do not leave dog in car.

My thinking is that the overwhelming majority of owners who kill their dogs by leaving them in a hot car thought the dog would be ok.  (There are a small number of people who actually forget the dog is in the car altogether or something along those lines.)  People think things like:

  • He’s a dog, he’s used to the heat
  • He’ll be fine, I left the window cracked
  • I’m only going to be gone for like 2 minutes, max

Problems arise when:

  • He was a dog, he was used to the heat, and he died
  • He wasn’t fine, even though I left the window cracked
  • I was gone for a little longer than 2 minutes, and he died

Here’s the thing:  No matter what your reasoning – which may on its face be sound – you are leaving your dog.  As such, you do not know what will be happening to him in your absence.  The clouds may shift and place him in direct sunlight or he may become stressed due to a factor other than the temperature – you just don’t know.

Anytime you are preparing to leave your dog unattended in the car:  Plan as if you will be abducted by aliens, medically probed for 7 hours, and returned to a spot near your car with a vague “Whaaaa?” feeling.  Will your dog be ok while you’re gone?

10 thoughts on “Dog Death by Hot Car – 100% Preventable

  1. I don’t take the dogs out on hot days. If I do or when I take them out on warm days, I leave the car running with the ac on. It’s locked, I just take the automatic unlocker or extra key with me. My car’s a hybrid, so even when the engine is running, it’s so soft no one notices it. I don’t do this often, but it’s my back-up if need be.

  2. It’s so damned sad that we have to have this discussion every year – and of course, via our blogs, we’re really already preaching to the choir.

    I have to wonder what the hell is going through the heads of anyone who takes their dogs to the MALL when it’s 95 degrees outside.

    1. But you know why it’s worth it? Because somebody will inevitably search on Google for “how hot is too hot to leave a dog in the car” and find one of these posts.

  3. Sunroof.

    I used to think of it as a luxury.

    Nope — it is an ingenious dog-safety device that can be left wide open. With window shades front and back and all four windows cracked four inches, the car will stay cool in normal warm or hot weather.

    My own dogs are also trained to stay in the car with the windows all the way down. So it’s all windows down, hatch window up, windshield covered, sunroof wide open, parked in the shade. New dogs/pups are crated or tethered inside until they are trained and proofed. But I want to give the wise adult dogs the option of bailing if it’s totally necessary. Mel did once; jumped out, squirted liquid diarrhea on the curb, and jumped back in. A witness stayed to tell me what she’d seen, because she was so gobsmacked.

    I am so paranoid about a cooked dog that I always leave the driver’s door open while I am loading the dogs, even if I am just walking around from the passenger side to get in while parked in my own driveway.

    What if I was struck by lightning as I walked around and the dog left in a closed car?

    Rinalia, don’t depend on the automatic opener or the engine/air conditioning.

    Any of the three can fail. In two cases, dead dog. Third case, you have to break a window perhaps.

    Cops with K9’s carry an extra key AND they have alarms that page them if the AC fails. And every once in a while, there’s still the horrible news story about a cooked K9 when all their precautions fail.

  4. What should you do if you come upon a dog who is locked in a car in a parking lot? Call 911, 311 or what?

    1. I think I might call 911 and/or, if it was easy to ascertain where the owner was (such as the car is parked outside a stand alone business), I’d go inside and alert the manager.

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