WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Heat + Cars + Pets = Bad Idea

Posted June 10, 2008 6:01 p.m. EDT

We recently got an email into the WeatherCenter, and I thought it would be important to share with you.

Mary writes:

I had an unfortunate incident Saturday in Raleigh where I had to call the police because a dog was left in a vehicle. The owners of the car returned before animal control showed up (which was a total of 45 minutes from the time I heard the dog barking). I proceeded to inform the driver that it is dangerous to leave an animal in the car even with the windows cracked because the car traps heat and the temperature can get up to 120 degrees. The driver's reaction was a bit disturbing as she called me a liar, told me her dog is fine because the windows were cracked, and not to tell her how to care for her animal. I guess what seems to be common sense to some is not for all.

Mary is absolutely right: closing pets (or children!) in a car on a hot day can be lethal.   Sadly, it's already happened once in our area.  According to the Humane Society, temperatures inside a closed car can exceed 110°F easily in just a few minutes -- and that's with the windows cracked on an 85°F day.  (Imagine how hot it could get with the heat we've had recently!)

This tale can have a happy ending, though, and it's easier than you think.

If you're heading out on a trip where pets aren't allowed, you're best to leave your pooch or kitty at home.  If your pets are outdoor pets, give them a cool, shaded place to take refuge from the sunshine -- and make absolutely sure they have a supply of cool, fresh water to drink.

If you do bring Fido along for a drive, be sure never to leave him or any of your pets in the car, even for "just a few minutes."  The heat builds to dangerous levels very quickly.  Plus, you never know when you might get hung up or delayed -- and that delay could be deadly for your pet.