Dangers of Leaving a Pet in a Parked Car

Although, it may not seem life threatening to you, leaving a pet in a parked car while you “run into the store for a quick minute”, this can actually put your pets at serious risk. Cars heat up very quickly in the sun and can even become dangerously hot on a partly cloudy day. In fact, hundreds of pets die every year from being left in parked cars that get too hot for them to handle.

On a 78 degree day, a parked car can get as hot as 100 degrees in just a few minutes. Although you may not think that a car could heat-up in the time it takes you to run into the store or bank, you are sorely mistaken. In fact, a car sitting in 90 degree weather can heat-up to an interior temperature of 109 degrees in under ten minutes.

Don’t believe us just yet? Check out the chart below to see for yourself just how quickly the temperature can rise in a parked car.


(Courtesy Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University)

Being exposed to this much heat is detrimental to an animal’s health and can lead to stroke and or death. Although you may bring your pet along in the car because you feel guilty leaving them alone at home, it is better for your pets to be left at home in the safety of air conditioning. Even if you leave the “windows cracked”, your pets are still at risk. In fact, evidence suggests that it makes little to no difference in the actual interior temperature of the car. Even if you leave the car and air conditioner on, there is a chance your pet could accidentally bump into it and turn it off, so it is better to just leave them in the safety of your home.

If you ever see a dog or cat left in a parked car and the owner is not nearby, you should take steps to make sure they are safe. Monitor them and if they appear to be in distress, or the owner does not seem to be in the immediate vicinity, consider calling animal control or 911. After all, as a pet owner, keeping animals safe should be a top priority.

Accidents and illnesses happen unexpectedly, especially as the weather gets nicer.  For those unexpected moments, put your mind at ease knowing your pet is 4Paws Protected. Receive a free quote from us today!