Dogs in cars

Do you leave your dog in your car when you run errands? Summer weather can be dangerous for dogs. It can get hot inside a car very quickly, even when the windows are rolled down or the air conditioner is on.

How hot can it get?

Temperature rises quickly in cars, even when the car is in the shade. If the outside temperature is 21 °C, it can reach 32 °C inside a car in 10 minutes.

Dogs cannot sweat. So, their body temperature rises much faster than a human’s body temperature. When a dog’s temperature rises, the dog overheats.

Older dogs and dogs with flat faces can overheat very easily. They are at risk for heatstroke.

What should you do if you see a dog in a warm car?

If the dog seems okay:

  1. Write down the colour of the car, its make, and its license plate number. Visit the businesses around the car. Ask if they can make an announcement for the owner to check on their dog.
  2. Stay with the dog until its owner returns if you like.
  3. Stay safe. Do not argue with the dog’s owner. Leave when the owner comes back.

If the dog has signs of heatstroke:

  1. Call the police, your local animal control, or the BC SPCA Call Centre. They can tell you what to do. An officer may come and help you.
  2. Never break a window. Only the police can damage a vehicle to save an animal.

 Adapted from BC SPCA, Alberta SPCA Photo: Wikimedia Commons