It’s not OK. Not even for just ten minutes. Not even if the window is cracked a little. A parked car is no place for a dog on a sunny summer day.
Since summer is officially beginning, now seems like a good time to remind each other about what a dangerous place the interior of a parked car can be for our canine friends. Dogs die in parked cars.
Parked cars work like solar ovens. It doesn’t take long for the temperature inside to rise to life-threatening levels. According to The Weather Channel, when the outside temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature within a parked car can rise by nearly twenty degrees in just ten minutes . This means that if you leave your dog in a car “for just ten minutes” while you run a few errands, your dog is now suffering in 109 degree heat. And it just keeps getting worse. If your friend leaves her dogs in her car while she visits her mother, after 30 minutes her dogs are in grave danger as the temperature in that car will be 124 degrees.
Heat is especially dangerous for dogs because they can’t cool themselves down like people do. As the ASPCA reminds us, dogs don’t sweat but rather depend on panting (exhaling hot air, inhaling cool air) to cool themselves down. When they are exposed to temperatures higher than their normal body temperature (between 100-102.5), dogs can’t cool themselves effectively and they can quickly become victims of heat stroke. Dogs with short heads (brachycephalic breeds such as Bulldogs, Boxers, Pugs, and Shih Tzus) are especially susceptible to heat stroke because their shortened heads make them inefficient at inhaling and exhaling.
Tell everyone you know: it’s not OK to leave your pets in a parked car even on a mild summer day. And if you notice a dog in a parked car and the owners are nowhere to be found, be a hero: call 911 and report the incident immediately.