The Danger of Leaving Pets in Hot Cars

pets left in hot cars

A pet left in a hot car can die from heat stroke in as little as 15 minutes.

Summer is upon us. Unfortunately, this season is often accompanied by stories of pets being left in hot cars for an extended period of time. Even if you are running an errand for “just a minute,” that may be too long for your pet to handle in the extreme heat of a car. Don’t take any chances. These situations can be completely avoided.

The Danger

dogs in hot carsEvery year, pets in hot cars die from the extreme temperatures. Dogs in particular do not have the self-cooling capabilities that humans have. When an animal recognizes they are overheating, they will often panic, expediting the overheating process.

Experts recommend never leaving a pet in the car for an extended period of time if the temperature is 70°F or higher. Simply cracking the window does little to reduce the temperature. When it is 100°F outside, the inside of the vehicle can reach 140°F in only 15 minutes.

This intense heat can shut down the pet’s organ systems all at once. Pets left in hot cars can suffer from:

– Dehydration
– Blood thickening
– Heart complications
– Liver damage
– Kidney damage
– Brain damage
– Death

Everyone should be vigilant of animals left in parked cars, especially during the summer months. Pet owners, your animal is much safer at home alone than in your hot car alone.

Current Laws

In order to protect our furry four-legged friends, Tennessee has enacted new legislation protecting citizens that break into a vehicle to save a pet.

As of July 1, 2015 Tennessee now allows individuals to break into a vehicle to save a pet trapped in a hot car. In 2014, Tennessee enacted the “Good Samaritan Law” that allows citizens to legally break into a hot car to save a child. The current legislation simply extends this law to pets.

“If you act reasonably, as any reasonable person would respond, you will not be at fault to save a life. You will not be at any fault to save a life and/or animals.” – Nashville Fire Department Chief of Staff Mike Franklin

In order to legally break into the car you must first:

– Make an effort to find the owner of the pets/vehicle
– Inform law enforcement

Tennessee isn’t the first state to enact legislation on this topic. Many other states have set laws penalizing individuals that endanger or kill animals by leaving them in a hot vehicle. In total, 17 states have laws dealing with leaving an animal in a parked car.

States laws dogs hot cars pets
Taking your pet with you on the road can be fun, but remember that it doesn’t take long for your parked car to become an oven. Let’s take a stand, together, to protect our furry friends from needless harm.

Should all states have laws protecting pets left in hot cars? Let us know in the comments below.