How to Address Seeing a Dog in a Hot Car

Summertime can be a great time for fun adventures in the family car- from day trips to the local amusement park to a cross-country vacation road trip, your car statistically gets used more during the summer months than any other time of year. However, not everyone in the family enjoys the hot summer days as much as you and the kids do: as much as you love your dog, summer is not the greatest time to take him or her on trips that can leave them hanging out in a hot car for even a few minutes at a time. The weather doesn’t even have to be that hot for a car to become a dangerous place for your furry friend- did you know that the interior temperature of a car can reach upwards of 104 degrees after 30 minutes on a 70-degree day? As if that isn’t bad enough, the inside temperature of a parked car can climb to an extremely dangerous 130 degrees on a 90-degree day. The best thing to do for your pet is to leave him or her home during a family day trip, and find suitable boarding arrangements if you are taking a vacation road trip.

But what should you do if you see a dog in a hot car? People naturally want to help the dog but are worried about legal repercussions or unpleasant confrontations with the pet’s owner. However, doing nothing could possibly cost the dog its life. Here’s what you should do if you are faced with such a situation, according to an article on the topic from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals):

Collect information about the car: Make sure to write down the make and model of the car, as well as its color and license plate number. You can also use the camera on your phone to take a picture of the car with the dog in it.

Notify someone quickly: If you are in the parking lot of a store or office building, find a front desk attendant or customer service representative and tell them about the dog, as well as all of the information you gathered about the vehicle. However, make sure to act quickly, as dogs can suffer brain damage or worse in mere minutes on a hot day.

Stay with the dog: Once you’ve notified someone, go back to the car and wait for help to arrive. This way you can monitor the dog in a hot car and make sure the situation doesn’t get worse before anyone can come.

Talk to the dog’s owner: If you feel comfortable with sharing some facts about the consequences of leaving a dog in a hot car with the owner once she or he gets back to the car, feel free to do so. However, if they act confrontational or angry, it may be best to remain calm and walk away as soon as you are sure the dog is safe.

Call animal control: If the dog’s owner is nowhere in sight after waiting for several minutes, contact animal control immediately. If animal control puts you on hold or is unavailable to come right away, dial 911. If all else fails, do what you have to do to get the dog out of the car, including breaking a window. Remember- this is absolutely an emergency, you are saving a life!

Sherrill Paint & Body wants to remind everyone that Birmingham summers can get brutally hot very quickly- leave your four-legged friends at home to ensure their safety!