July 17, 2023

Hot cars = hot dogs

Summer is officially here and with that comes warmer temperatures and spending the day outside. It’s a nice 75-degree day and you have just taken your dog to the park, and now you need to stop by the store for just a few things. There’s no harm in leaving your pet in the car for a few minutes with the windows cracked, right? NO!

The first thing you notice when you return to your car is the hot air that hits you in the face and your steering wheel and seat feeling like they just came out of an oven. Cars magnify heat and can become dangerously hot in just minutes, even when it’s cooler outside. We know that your pet loves to jump in the car for an adventure with you, but please leave your pets at home if they’re going to have to be left unattended in your car.

It’s a situation Mark Barton, HSPPR sponsor, dog dad, and general manager/partner at Phil Long Ford of Motor City, wants everyone to take seriously. He shares the message whenever he can – think twice before bringing your furry friend along for the ride.

Animal Law Enforcement receives a lot of calls for pets being left unattended in vehicles during the summer months. This is why dogs in hot cars are a dangerous combination.
  • On even just warm, sunny days, the inside of a car heats up very quickly. And cracking a window makes no difference. For example, on a 75-degree day, the temperature inside a car can climb above 94 degrees in just 10 minutes; or 109 degrees in 30 minutes. On warmer days, it will go even higher. Please just leave your pets at home if you’re able to.
  • Pets that are exposed to high temperatures can suffer fever, organ failure, brain damage, or even death. 
  • Animal Law Enforcement has seen some extremely devastating cases in which pet owners truly didn’t realize they were putting their dogs at risk and the dogs died. But even though the owner had no malice or ill intent, they were criminally negligent and charged with cruelty to animals.  
Despite the widespread publicity around the dangers of leaving a pet in hot cars, it still happens. Here are some steps you can take to help a pet in distress.
  • Call Animal Law Enforcement at 719-302-8798 or police dispatch to report it. If the animal is in severe distress, unconscious, etc., call 9-1-1.
  • Colorado does have a hot car immunity, but there are a lot of stipulations that need to be met to ensure immunity from civil and criminal liability if you break into a car to get a pet out. It is highly recommended that you contact law enforcement.
  • If you suspect a dog has overheated, move him out of the sun/heat, offer cool water, and use cool – not cold – water to help bring his temperature down. Then contact your veterinarian immediately.