A quick pit stop may feel like no time at all to you, but it’s too long to leave your pet in a car by himself. One hazard is heat: When it’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees within an hour. On an 85-degree day, even with the windows slightly open, the temperature inside your car can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes. If you’re held up for 30 minutes, you may return to a car that’s 120 degrees inside and a pet who is suffering irreversible organ damage or death.
A year-round hazard is the unspoken invitation you issue to pet (and car) thieves any time you leave your pet alone in a car.
Cool outside doesn’t mean cool in the car
It doesn’t have to be that warm outside for a car to become dangerously hot inside. Here are some facts:
When it’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit within an hour.
When it’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 99 degrees Fahrenheit within 10 minutes.
Rolling down the windows has been shown to have little effect on the temperature inside a car.
How to help a pet left in a hot car
Take down the car’s make, model and license-plate number.
If there are businesses nearby, notify their managers or security guards and ask them to make an announcement to find the car’s owner. Many people are unaware of the danger of leaving pets in hot cars and will quickly return to their vehicle once they are alerted to the situation.
If the owner can’t be found, call the non-emergency number of the local police or animal control and wait by the car for them to arrive. In several states good Samaritans can legally remove animals from cars under certain circumstances, so be sure to know the laws in your area and follow any steps required.