If you’re traveling with your pet, please remember that temperatures inside a parked car will skyrocket in mere moments. Even a car that’s parked in the shade will create dangerously unsafe temperature conditions for any animal locked inside.
Leaving your cat or dog in a car while you run into the store for a few moments can put your pet at serious risk for hyperthermia and death.
Every summer we hear very tragic stories in the news about animals who suffer heat stroke or even die from being left in a parked car.
Enjoy your summer and enjoy traveling with your dog or cat but please be aware of this danger so you can avoid a tragedy.
What should you do if you see an animal left alone in a hot car?
- If you see the owner you can use this opportunity to calmly educate them. Despite how much there is in the media about the dangers of leaving animals (and of course, children) alone in cars, it’s surprising how many people still aren’t aware of the danger. If you are going to talk with the owner though, use common sense and evaluate the situation first. Don’t let emotions cause you to jump to conclusions and allow the situation to get out of control. There’s a difference between someone who left their dog in the car while they run into the gas station to pay for gas and the person who is dining at a restaurant while the animal suffers for an hour in a parked car.
- If you’re in a store parking lot and see an animal left in a hot car alone, quickly go into the store and speak with the store manager. Hopefully, the manager can make an announcement to find the animal’s owner.It’s surprising how many people don’t realize how much time has gone by when they run into the store just planning to get a few things. Most store managers are very cooperative in helping to quickly identify the owner.
- If you can’t clearly identify what store the owner may have gone into or if the animal is starting to be in distress from the heat, call the police for help if there isn’t a parking lot security officer available. Don’t take it upon yourself to break the window. The animal may panic and escape and then end up getting hit by a car. Use common sense.
Here is a video that veterinarian Ernie Ward made about how an animal probably feels while being left in a hot car for 30 minutes. The difference between the human experience and the animal experience though is that humans can sweat, and that helps cool the body more efficiently.
Due to Pam’s scheduling demands, we’re sorry but she is unable to respond to questions or remarks posted in the comment section. If you have a question about cat behavior, you can find many answers in the articles Pam writes for the website as well as in her best-selling books.