We have all done it with friends, kids, and our pets – leave them in the car for a few minutes to run into a store and pick something up. A few minutes on a cool day may not be bad and many times, nothing happens, except with the pets where you may find nose prints, drool, and paw prints on the windows. But on hotter days when the temperature is above 75 degrees, the car can warm up faster than you would think and cracking the window doesn’t help.
On average, if the outside temperature is 75 degrees in about 10 minutes the inside of a car can reach 90 degrees. If it’s a hot day at 95 degrees, the car can hit 110 degrees in 10 minutes. Cracking the window may let in some air, but the car is like a metal box and the sun, heat, and humidity builds up faster than you think.
Many of us do not have the harness or car seats that are available for dogs, so imagine them peeking around, looking out the windows waiting for you to return, bouncing from the front to the back seats… exerting energy and creating more heat in the car. It can be fatal. Cats should always be kept in carriers when traveling in a car since they are more agile, more likely to get underfoot, and some may be too nervous to roam freely in the car.
If you can leave your pet at home when you travel unless you absolutely need to bring them somewhere. Do not leave them in the car, even in the winter, as it can get extremely cold in the car in a matter of minutes once the heat is turned off. Set a good example by properly restraining your pet in the car. It is safer for you and your pet. Braking hard or a collision can make your pet lose his balance and hit the windshield, hit the back of your seat, or be seriously injured from the sudden impact and jolt. Also, pets in cars can distract the driver if they are trying to play, looking for attention, or stand on the middle console blocking the rearview mirror.
Dogs and cats are part of the family. Let’s make sure they are safe and happy.