Never Leave Pets Alone in a Parked Vehicle During Hot Weather


Sassy the Dog in Car

The Cambridge Animal Commission urges pet owners to think twice when bringing pets in the car, especially with the hot days of August and September still ahead of us.  It is best to leave pets at home if you are running errands and would potentially have to leave your pet in the car.  On an 85° degree day, it takes only 10 minutes for the inside of a car to reach 102°.  Even when the temperature outside is a pleasant 70°, the inside of a car may be as much as 20 degrees hotter.  Also, leaving pets unattended in cars in extreme weather is illegal in several states, including Massachusetts. 

Below are helpful tips from ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) to prevent your pet from overheating.  If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, get help from your vet immediately. 

Visit the Vet 
A visit to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer check-up is always a good idea.

Made in the Shade 
Pets can get dehydrated quickly; give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it's hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place; be careful to not over-exercise them; and keep them indoors when it's extremely hot. 

Know the Warning Signs 
Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively.  Also elderly or overweight pets, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible. 

No Parking! 
Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. "On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time-even with the windows open-which could lead to fatal heat stroke," says Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Hospital.

Make a Safe Splash 
Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool-not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which could upset their stomach. 

Street Smarts 
When temperature is very high, don't let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your pet’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum. 

For more hot weather tips from ASPCA, visit

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Louis DePasquale
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Lisa C. Peterson
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