Save Pets, Heat Stress, Heat stroke, Parked Autos, Air ConditioningThe weather is beautiful, and I can’t wait to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. And my best friend wants to join me, no matter where I need to go. Of course, the ‘best friend’ I’m referring to, is of the furry, four-legged variety. My dog loves to join me on all my car adventures. Now that the summer temperatures are rising, is it safe to leave him in the car alone? The short answer is NO. In mere minutes, the temperature inside a vehicle can rise 30 to 50 degrees (even if the air conditioning was on before you parked the car). Animals do not have the ability to cool themselves sufficiently in parked autos. They can suffer from Heat Stress, Heat Stroke, and even die, if left unattended for a short amount of time. Save your pets from a horrible fate, and yourself from a horrible loss, by leaving your pets safely at home this summer.

Save Your Pets from Summer Heat

My dog always gives me those big, sad eyes whenever I leave the house. If I know that he can stay with me during my day’s activities, I often take him along. But if I need to go places where he is not allowed, I know he will be far safer at home, than left alone in my car.

Rising Temperatures in Parked Autos*

Parked Car Auto TemperatureAutomobiles can act as ovens during the summer, even if it feels relatively cool outside. When it’s only 70℉ outside, the temperature inside your parked auto can reach 113℉ within an hour. When it’s 80℉ outside, the temperature inside your parked auto can reach 99℉ within 10 minutes. Even a short errand can leave your pet in an unbearably hot car, causing discomfort, distress, and even death.

Open Windows

Does leaving the car windows open help keep the car cool enough for my pet? Studies show that leaving the windows cracked open, or even completely down, does not give your pet enough air flow to offset rising temperatures inside your car.

Parking in the Shade

Does parking in the shade help keep the car cool enough for my pet? There is no evidence that suggests parking in the shade prevents excessive heat from building up inside your vehicle. Even if you park in the shade, and have your windows down, your car will still get too hot to be safe for your pet.

Heat Stress / Heat Stroke

A pet will show signs of heat stress or heat stroke if left in a hot vehicle too long. These signs may include:

  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Glazed or unfocused eyes
  • Rapid pulse
  • Staggering or inability to stand up
  • Vomiting – may be bloody
  • Deep red or purple tongue
  • Nose bleed, bloody gums
  • Unconsciousness / coma


How to Help an Animal in Distress

If you see any distressed animals left unattended in parked autos, there are several ways you can help. 

  • Immediately call 911 to report an animal in distress. Be prepared to supply the exact location of the vehicle, its description, and a report on the condition of the animal.
  • Take down the description of the car (make, model, color, license plate) and go into the surrounding stores and businesses. They should be able to make an emergency announcement regarding an animal in distress left alone in a hot vehicle.
  • Make sure to wait next to the vehicle for emergency personnel to arrive.

Save Your Pets: Animal First Aid

Once the animal is removed from the hot vehicle, it will need veterinarian care as soon as possible. You can offer immediate, short-term care by:

  • Moving the animal to a cooler location
  • Slowly lower their body temperature by soaking it with cool (NOT cold) water.
  • Place cool, wet towels on the neck, paws, under legs (armpits), earflaps, groin/belly areas
  • Use a fan to help speed the evaporative cooling process
  • Offer the animal cool water to drink, but do not force them to drink
  • Stay calm and offer emotional support to both the pet and its owner

Follow the Law

Maryland is one of many states where it is against the law to leave a pet unattended in your car, regardless of the weather or season. The law also states that ONLY Emergency Service Personnel may break into a car to rescue a distressed animal. It is currently ILLEGAL for a private citizen to break into a vehicle to rescue an animal in distress. If you choose to break a window to save a pet, you may be subject to legal proceedings, fines, and reimbursement for all damages done to the car. 

Auto Air Conditioning

If you plan on traveling with your pet this summer, make sure to keep your car safe and comfortable for both of you. Keep the interior cool by using your vehicle’s air conditioning, but make sure it is not blowing directly onto your pet. Keep them safely secured in a pet carrier or pet harness while they ride in the car, use a leash when they exit the car, and make sure to never leave them in the car unattended.

Diagnosing & Recharging Air Conditioning

Spectra Auto Services, Inc. has been serving the community since 1989. If your car’s air conditioning is not performing as well as it used to, let our trained and ASE certified technicians get it handled for you. We can check the A/C compressor, measure the refrigerant, test the pressure, and recharge the system with the correct liquid refrigerant for your vehicle.

Schedule Your Air Conditioning Service

Give us a call at (301) 695-5990 or visit our website to make an Air Conditioning Service appointment today!

*For more info on Pets in Vehicles, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association.