Too hot in the car for cats and dogs?

It is that time of year. PETA provides some excellent advice and information. Heatstroke can kill a pet in a hot car in 15 minutes. It can all happen so very quickly and tragically. It is remarkable that it still happens. PETA reports five pet deaths due to heat in 2024. Climate change has produced some freakeshly high temperatures. Under these conditions particular precautions obviously need to be taken. Some places have experienced temperatures over 50 degrees Celsius (India for instance this year).

Too hot for cats and dogs generally and too hot inside vehicles?
Too hot for cats and dogs generally and too hot inside vehicles? Free to download image. Click on it to see the original and download that.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

RELATED: Cat heatstroke more likely during these global warming years

Heatstroke for dogs in cars

It can take as little as 15 minutes for a dog to die of heatstroke in a car. Even on a seemingly mild day, the temperature inside a parked car can rise rapidly, creating a dangerous environment for your dog.

Here are some facts to remember:

  • Cars act like ovens: Even with windows cracked, the temperature inside a parked car can reach dangerously high levels quickly.
  • Dogs have limited cooling mechanisms: Unlike humans, dogs primarily cool themselves through panting. In a hot car, this is not enough to prevent their body temperature from rising.
  • Heatstroke can be fatal: If a dog’s body temperature gets too high, it can lead to organ damage, seizures, and even death.

Never leave your dog in a car, even for a short time. If you see a dog in a hot car, take action immediately:

  • Call the authorities: Contact the police or animal control immediately.
  • Try to locate the owner: Look for the car owner and alert them to the situation.
  • If necessary, break a window: If the dog is in critical condition and the owner cannot be found, you may need to break a window to gain access and cool the dog down.

In 2023 alone, 163 animals endured heat–related deaths and another 855 were rescued from the heat—and those are just the ones that were reported. Most almost certainly aren’t.


Some PETA recorded incidents.

The following list is a compilation of heat-related rescues of companion animals reported in 2024 from PETA

DateLocationNumber of Dogs or Other Animals RescuedNotes
5/14/2024Pembroke Pines, Florida3Three dogs were rescued from a hot car in a hospital parking lot. 
5/4/2024Lake Buena Vista, Florida3Four puppies were discovered in a hot car in a Disney Springs parking garage. One of them later died.
4/26/2024San Carlos Park, Florida1Firefighters rescued a dog from a locked car on a hot day.
4/18/2024Houston, Texas1A dog—lethargic from being left out in the heat for an extended period—was rescued from a balcony.
4/14/2024Augusta, Georgia2A dog and a cat were rescued from a hot SUV. Two other cats were found dead in the vehicle.
4/12/2024Portage, Pennsylvania1A man was charged for allegedly leaving a dog in a hot car for hours. 
4/9/2024Port St. Lucie, Florida1Police broke into a parked car whose interior temperature was over 100 degrees to save a dog. 
4/4/2024Glendale, Arizona1A dog died after being left in a hot car while their owner was shopping. 
2024 pet rescues from hot cars in 2024 as reported by PETA on their website.

What steps to take to avoid pets dying of heatstroke in very hot weather or in the car?

Heatstroke in pets can be a serious and potentially life-threatening condition, especially during hot weather. Here are some important steps to help prevent heatstroke and keep your furry friends safe:

  1. Avoid Overexertion: Limit your pet’s exercise during hot and humid weather. Opt for walks during cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening.
  2. Provide Shade and Water: Ensure that your pet has access to shade and plenty of fresh water when outdoors. Shade helps them avoid direct sun exposure, and hydration is crucial to regulate their body temperature.
  3. Never Leave Pets in Parked Cars: Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car, even with the windows cracked. Cars can heat up rapidly, leading to heatstroke. If you see a pet left in a hot car, consider reporting it to local authorities.
  4. Recognize Signs of Heatstroke: Be aware of the signs of heatstroke, which include:
    • Heavy Panting
    • Tiredness
    • Drooling
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
  5. Cool Them Down: If you suspect heatstroke, immediately move your pet to a cooler area. Apply cold towels or ice packs to their head, neck, and chest. You can also run cool (not cold) water over them. Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
  6. Seek Veterinary Help: Urgently contact your veterinarian if you suspect heatstroke. In severe cases, heatstroke can cause organ failure and even death. Quick action is essential for the best chance of survival.

Remember, prevention is key! Keep your pets safe by being proactive and attentive during hot weather. 🐾

Sources for the above: Humane Society, Vet Tamu, YouTube, Facebook, Bing, The Kennel Club.

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