It's hard to resist that wagging tail and "you wouldn't leave me, would you?" face, but steel yourself.  It may seem cruel to deprive your favourite canine buddy of the sheer joy s/he gets from a car ride, with all those wonderful smells drifting in the open window, but the heat is seeping in, too. Even the briefest of road trips can be hazardous when the temperature soars.  It's been at or above 90 degrees here for the past two weeks and more hot weather is predicted.

On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time—even with the windows open—which could lead to fatal heat stroke.  The Internet has been filled with heartbreaking stories of family pets left
Dogs don't sweat.  They pant to cool off, but all the panting in the world isn't going to help during a heatwave.


A parking lot is a hot plate, fueled by the sun.  Try sitting in your car in the Walmart lot and see how you like it - and don't forget to wear your winter coat!.   Parking lot/hotplate + parked car/furnace = TROUBLE.

Even if you drive your car to the store with the A/C blasting and plan to leave the family pet in there "just while I ran into the store," it's a no-win situation.

If you roll down the windows, the  A/C’s going to go right out the window (and you wouldn't ever  leave the windows rolled up with a dog in there, right?). And if you do leave the key in the ignition and the A/C on, you're going to lock the doors (if you want to have both a car and a dog when you get back with your ice cream), and people like me who pass your car, see the rolled up windows, and can't open the doors to help, are going to call the cops. And believe me – they will be more than happy to bust your windows to save Fluffy..

Cars aren't the only hazards to pets in hot weather, so watch them carefully for signs of  heat exhaustion or stroke:
  • heavy panting
  • hyperventilation (deep breathing)
  • increased salivation 
  • dry gums 
  • weakness
  • confusion or inattention
  • vomiting or diarrhea and sometimes bleeding. 
  • obvious paleness or graying to the gums
  • high fever (above 105F) 


Prevention is best, but be prepared.  In case of heat exhaustion cool your pet immediately with cool or tepid water rather than really cold water. If ice packs are available they can be applied to areas where circulation is very good, such as the "armpits", stomach region, or neck. Blowing air over the dog with a fan as you cool her off with water can be helpful. As soon as s/he seems to be gaining some degree of comfort, head for your vet's. Dogs who suffer from heat stroke can develop delayed complications, including death,  if they are not properly monitored and cared for.