Is it too hot to leave my pet in the car?

We think pets are great travel companions. And, there’s nothing wrong with bringing your dog (or cat!) along for a car ride as long as you don’t plan to make stops where you have to leave your pet in the car. The interior of a car can heat up to dangerous levels very quickly and put your pet at risk of heatstroke.

When is it too hot to leave a pet in a car?

Unfortunately, there are so many variables that there is no definitive answer. Even on an overcast day, your vehicle can quickly reach a temperature that puts your pet at risk of serious illness and even death. The inside of a vehicle parked in 70-degree weather can reach 89 degrees in just 10 minutes. And, remember that weather can change quickly. We also have to keep in mind that dogs and cats are susceptible to heat stroke. They don’t sweat like humans and are not able to cool themselves as easily. And some pets are at greater risk than others. See if your pet is more susceptible to heat stroke. You can compare the temperature of the inside of your car to the outdoor temperature with our Car Temperature Pet Safety Chart.

“What if I crack the window?” 

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, studies have shown that cracking a window, unfortunately, does very little to slow rising temperatures in the car. A parked car with the windows cracked heats up at almost the exact same rate as a car with the windows rolled up, putting pets in serious danger. The same goes for parking in the shade.

Is it against the law to leave a pet in a car?

Washington state law makes it a violation to leave an animal unattended in a vehicle or enclosed space, if the animal could be harmed or killed by exposure to excessive heat or cold, lack of ventilation or lack of water.

What to do if you see a pet in a parked car

If you see an animal trapped in a car, it is recommended to take down the car’s make, model and license plate number and ask nearby businesses to make an announcement. Many people are unaware of the danger and will quickly return. If that is not possible, call the local police. The police will take it from there, likely getting help from someone from the animal control department.

What’s the best solution for traveling with pets?

Only take your pet along when you are going places where you are 100% sure that your pet can come with you. If a trip requires you leave your dog or cat in the car at any point, save that trip for another day. It’s not worth the risk!   * Want to see how quickly temperatures can rise in a car?  Download our Car Temperature Pet Safety Chart *
Pets on leashes are always welcome at Pet Pros so feel free to bring them in with you. You can also shop online or call your neighborhood Pet Pros to place an order and pickup in store or call us when you arrive for Curbside Pickup.  We’ll run your order out to your car. Thank you for shopping local!