How Hot is Too Hot?
We all know that it isn’t safe to leave a pet in a hot car. But just what temperature is too much heat for your fur-baby? 90 degrees? 80 degrees?
On a 75 degree day, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach 118 degrees, according to the Connecticut Humane Society. When the temperature hits 85 degrees, it can take only 10 minutes for the inside of a car to reach over 100 degrees! Although it feels pleasant to us, 70 degrees is too hot to leave your pet in the car.
Dogs and cats regulate their body temperature by panting. Unlike humans, they are only able to sweat through their paws. While some breeds are more susceptible than others, all dogs, cats, and other pets can develop heat stroke in a hot car, even with the windows rolled down.
The Signs of Heat Stroke
Pets at greatest risk of heatstroke are young, elderly, overweight, have short muzzles, and/or those with thick or dark coats. If your pet is exhibiting any of the following signs of distress, they may be at risk for heatstroke:
- Excessive thirst
- Heavy panting
- Lack of appetite
- Darkened tongue
- Rapid heartbeat
- Glassy eyes
- Lack of coordination
If you see any of these symptoms in your pet, call their veterinarian immediately. The vet may instruct you to give them small amounts of water and wrap them in cold, wet towels. Never immerse your pet in ice water- it could cause them to go into shock.
What To Do If You Spot A Pet In A Car
There are several steps you can take to ensure that a pet trapped in a hot car is rescued. First, take down information about the vehicle, including make, model, color, and license plate number. If there’s time, go inside the business the vehicle is parked outside of and ask someone to page the owner of the vehicle. If the owner doesn’t respond or there’s not enough time, call the non-emergency number of the local police or animal control and wait for them to arrive.
Currently, Connecticut does not have a “Good Samaritan” law in place regarding pets in hot cars. This means that if you see a pet trapped in a hot car, it is not legal to break the animal out of the car. However, Connecticut state law prohibits leaving animals in hot cars, and owners can be charged with animal abuse.
We encourage pet owners to take their furry friends on road trips with them whenever possible, and luckily, Connecticut has many parks and restaurants that are perfect for a road trip with man’s best friend. Check out our list of CT dog parks and dog-friendly restaurants here.