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Pets in hot vehicles

Photo: Eva Blanco/iStockphoto

You take your dog to run errands on a warm day. You leave him in your vehicle, and even crack the window. You’ll only be gone a little while. He’ll be fine, right?


Hundreds of pets die of heat exhaustion every year after being left in parked vehicles, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. In as little as 10 minutes, the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rise nearly 20º F, and the longer you’re away, the hotter it gets, the AVMA notes. Cracking the window has been shown to be of little help for animals left inside a hot vehicle.

If you see an animal left alone in a hot, parked car, the Humane Society of the United States recommends following these steps:

  • Write down the vehicle’s make, model and plate number.
  • Notify the managers or security guards of nearby businesses of the situation and ask them to make an announcement to locate the owner of the vehicle.
  • If no one comes forward, call your local nonemergency number of the police or animal control and wait by the car for help to arrive.

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