Don't Leave Pets in the Car! - Michigan Humane Society

Don't Leave Pets in the Car!

You probably meant to be kind by taking your pet in the car with you, but you could be risking his life!

June 12, 2017

A pet’s normal body temperature is between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. A pet can only withstand a higher body temperature for a very short time.

Once the pet’s body temperature reaches a critical level, he will suffer irreparable brain damage – or even death.


On a warm day, the air inside of a car heats up very quickly. Even on a relatively mild 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside of your car – even parked in the shade with the windows slightly opened – will reach about 102 degrees in 10 minutes. In 30 minutes, it will go up to 120 degrees. On warmer days, it will go even higher, and more quickly!

The overheated air in a closed car interferes with the pet’s normal cooling process. Unlike humans, dogs and cats do not perspire to cool their bodies down – they pant.

When the air they take in is overheated, the evaporation that usually occurs during panting is insufficient to allow proper cooling.

If your pet is overcome by heat, you can give immediate first aid by getting him out of the car at once and immersing him in cool water. If you are unable to immerse him, lay him on cool, shaded grass, pour cold water over him, and contact your pet’s veterinarian immediately.

If you see a pet in danger in a hot parked car, ask the store to make an announcement. If necessary, contact the local animal control or police.

So, please be kind and leave pets safely at home when running errands during warm weather. Your pet will thank you for it! 

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