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Leaving dogs in hot cars – DON’T DO IT!!

by Therese on July 27, 2007

in Dogs, Pet Health, Pets, Rants

hotcardog.jpgIf you’ve read my blog in the past, you’ve likely seen me write rant about people leaving dogs in cars only to find them dead when they come back. Well, here ya go…here’s another one about two geniuses in Maine who left not one, but two dogs in a car while they went shopping at Home Depot. Sure, they feel bad about it now, but why didn’t they think about what they were doing before they left their dogs in an oven to die a grueling death?

Authorities are investigating the deaths of two dogs left inside a car during this week’s hot spell.

According to Ellsworth Police Lt. Harold Page, a mother and her adult daughter parked their car at a Home Depot on Wednesday afternoon and left their dogs inside the car while they shopped. When the women emerged from the store about 45 minutes later, the dogs had died from heat exhaustion, police said.


According to the Bangor Daily News, the dog owners said they left their dogs inside the car but kept the engine and air conditioning running. When they returned to the car, the engine and air conditioning were not running. Police later observed the air-conditioning controls were in the on position and the keys were in the ignition.

There’s more at MaineToday.com.

Davis Instruments has information from a study done in 2002 on how hot it can get in parked cars. Does this really sound like something you want put your pet through?

Finding: On a day when the outside temperature was 73° Fahrenheit, it took only 20 minutes for the temperature sensor inside the car to reach a lethal level of 107° Fahrenheit.

Finding: On a day when the outside temperature was 86° Fahrenheit, it took only five minutes for the temperature sensor inside the car (placed in direct sunlight) to reach 132° Fahrenheit.

Finding: On a day when the outside temperature was 86° Fahrenheit, it took only 10 minutes for the temperature sensor inside the vehicle in the shade to reach a lethal level of 109° Fahrenheit.

Please, if you have your dog with you and you feel you MUST go in somewhere, either take the dog in with you (some places allow this) or take the dog home. Or if, as in this case, there are two or more of you, have one person stay outside with the dogs. Use your head a bit folks, if it’s too hot for you to sit in a hot car, it will be for your dog too. And, your dog doesn’t know how to turn the A/C back on if it goes off!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Debi July 27, 2007 at 6:11 pm

really, is the whole world just loosing its common sense???????????? It is beyond the rational minded person to even think of taking our four pawed freinds somewhere in the car in the summer and then just leaving them. How stupid can people be?? we live in Tucson, Az. and in the summer it gets up to 118 degrees. Having a scanner, we cant believe STILL, how many times the cops get called out to places in the afternoon to try and save poor dogs. At least when the a..holes come back to the car the police and a group of angry onlookers are usually there to greet the freak, maybe the broken window and the citation will remind the ass not to bring the dog next time!!!!


Deanna Adkins July 30, 2007 at 11:19 am

We are having a health fair for pets on National World Rabies Day, Sept. 8, 2007. I am looking for brochures and pamplets on animals. We also need promotionals that we can give away to the participants. If you would like to donate or know where I can get materials and give-a-ways, please get back to me ASAP. Thank you for your help. Deanna


Steve August 22, 2007 at 7:04 pm

i’m curious to know about the implications here- i have two dogs which go with me every where- recently on a 65-70 degree day here in buffalo i left my dogs in the car with the ac on and car running . I returned to my car an hour later with some angry civilians, who were appalled at my neglect. I of course was defensive in that the outside temp was reasonable, and i had left the car running with the ac on. I would never want anything life threatening to happen to my animals, and am now concerned with my behavior. i have heard both sides of the argument, and am not sure how to proceed other than use extreme caution. The other alternative for the animals is to spend their time away from me, alone , in a crate in a non air-conditioned apartment. Whats the lesser of two evils- or am i simply unfit as a pet owner?


Therese August 22, 2007 at 7:19 pm

Hi Steve,

I have to commend you for taking time to look at the issue of whether or not it’s a good idea to leave your dogs alone in the car. The very fact that you’re researching this leads me to think you most likely are not an unfit owner…an unfit owner wouldn’t even consider that there may be a different way of doing things.

One thing to keep in mind is that even if you leave your a/c on when you get out of the car, there’s no sure way to know that it’s going to stay on. The one thing you can be sure of though, is that if the a/c does go off, your dogs will not know how to turn it back on.

Since you’re wanting to learn more, please take a look at these two websites: http://www.squidoo.com/dogsinhotcars/ and http://mydogiscool.com/ – both have very good info on dogs and hot cars. My Dog Is Cool even has a chart that shows how hot the inside of a car can get at different outside temperatures.

I can understand your dilemma…car vs. apartment with no a/c. And, since you live in Buffalo, the cold is just as much of an issue as the heat, so I hope the websites above can help you come to a solution.

Please come back and post any questions you might have…maybe other readers will be able to help you figure this out!


Susie June 23, 2009 at 3:22 pm

Last weekend I called the police when a woman at a grocery store left her dog in a parked car, windows cracked an inch. It was 85 degrees outside and HUMID. The dog appeared to be stressing and PANTING profusely. The woman returned to the car while I had the police on the phone and I told her I was talking to the police and she said…”I was only gone 10 minutes, I love my dog”. I told her she was NOT loving her dog and 10 minutes was surely long enough to cause the dog to suffer. How sad that dog owners have such little consideration for the ones they love. 🙁 Hopefully this woman will think twice before doing this again.


Zoe July 26, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Yesterday it was 86 in the sun, the car was in the shade, and I left the windows down all but all the way. All that did was allow some self-richeous b=t-h to attempt to steal my dog! She told me how I feel (guilty) and on and on. I told her I would talk to the police not her, but they said they weren’t coming when I called. I was just appalled at the judgement of some people; she actually said she almost took my dog home with her (theft!). There was absolutely no way around this situation (car needing repair and all alone out of town). The store told me I could not bring her in… then here’s this rich bag telling me how much I abuse and hate my animal. After just 20 minutes and in accordance with the law, and there is still some judgemental piece of work with better circumstances. On the truth of it, my pooch is all I have. This woman should burn in a car that is actually hot. I’m just posting this to begin processing the fact that I almost lost the last thing I had, because someone did not even take the time to ask about the situation. She made every awful assumption she could about me and how I treat my only friend. Don’t be this woman even if you feel you are doing the right thing. Just call the police and shut your mouth.


Libby September 1, 2010 at 3:25 pm

I called the police in Kittery Point, Maine today because there was a dog in a car at the beach. The windows were cracked, but it was very hot out and sunny. The dog was not yet in distress, so the officer seemed annoyed that I had called. The dog must have been in there for over an hour before the people returned. The cop was more concerned about illegal parking. It was all very frustrating.


Therese September 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Who leaves their dog in the car while they romp on the beach? And the cop . . . let him sit in the car like that for an hour!


Sandra March 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Today I witnessessed a small dog in a truck in Home Depot parking lot. It was 81F outside. It was in there at least an hour…it was there when we pulled in and we waited an hour. True the windows were left slightly open but the rain barriers on the truck windows blocked much of the air flow. Animal Control showed and said, Oh, it will be alright and the man poked the tips of his big fingers in the window to check temp. Said oh it is ok. My hands are smaller and when I placed my hand inside it was VERY hot. They were just going to leave the poor puppy like that! They finally agreed to run licence plate and page owner. 10 min later owner arrived from inside store. Animal Control actually apolized to man for having to bother him! I know neither I nor any of these grown men would want to be locked in that hot truck for over an hour but they should try it sometime. See how they like it.


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