Protecting Your Pup in the Heat

Photo of a cute black dog named Ekko
Ekko the dog. Photo by Alvin Greene

Protecting your pets from extreme heat this summer should be handled in the same way you’d protect yourself. Summer time is a great time for both you and your pet to go outside, take a walk or play catch without marching through slushy snow or worrying about slipping. Unfortunately, summer is also where many tragic cases of deaths due to heat exhaustion take place for humans and animals alike. There are many resources and preventative methods that can help ensure the health and safety of animals this Summer for both pet owners and passersby.

Death due to heat exhaustion can take up to 15 minutes to happen according to PETA’s article, Dogs in Hot Cars and on Hot Pavement. This kind of crisis can be averted by pet owners by acknowledging there are no safe ways to leave the dog alone in the car. Writer Linda Cole of Canidae writes in her article, “Is There a Safe Temperature to Leave a Dog in a Car?” that “Leaving the motor running is a bad idea, even if you’ve cracked a window to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in winter or leave the air conditioning running in the summer. An unrestrained pet can accidentally put the car in gear, which is what happened recently in a Walmart parking lot in West Virginia.” If you’re forced into a position where you must bring your dog with you there are several other alternatives to leaving your pet. suggests drive-thru windows, bringing a friend that can sit with your pet, searching for pet friendly stores, going to outdoor cafes or leaving your dog at home as safe alternatives to leaving your pet in the car. There are circumstances that do not permit everyone to leave their dog at home, with a friend or allow them to bring the dog into the place that they’re going to. In these situations, passersby may witness dogs in locked cars in the heat who may feel compelled to act.

Rachel Crocetti writes in “8 Essential Things to Do When You See A Dog Left In A Hot Car,” that getting information is key before taking action. Crocetti explains, “According to the Humane Society, the first thing that you can do to help a dog in a dangerous situation is to learn the facts yourself. Check out your town or state’s laws on leaving an animal in a car. Gather the phone number of the police department’s non-emergency line and also the animal control department in your town."

Remaining educated on the best conditions for pets inside and outside of the car can make a world of difference for their lives.

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