Mom to Mom

You Can Help Pets in Hot Cars
July 28, 2011 at 5:02 PM

. You Can Help Pets in Hot Cars

dog sitting in red car

Rayne Nolte was in the parking lot of a Mankato, Minnesota, mall last week when she spotted Roxie, a Yorkie mix, trapped in a car. The temperature was 88 degrees with a heat index of 103, and the car's owner was gone.

You may have found yourself in Rayne’s situation before. Many pet parents believe that cracking a window is enough to keep their dogs cool in the car while they make a quick pit stop—but they couldn’t be more wrong. "Automobile temperatures can very quickly rise to dangerous levels; the average temperature increase in a parked car is 40 degrees, and the majority of this increase occurs in the first 15 to 30 minutes," says Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. When it’s 80 degrees outside, your car will be a staggering 114 degrees after 30 minutes!

Worse still, dogs can’t cool themselves down as easily as people, and once they overheat, they can suffer extensive organ damage or die. Luckily, Rayne made all the right moves. Follow her lead by taking these simple steps.

Step 1: Try to Locate the Pet Parent
Roxie’s people were nowhere in sight, so Rayne called mall security, who tried to find Roxie’s family through the loudspeaker. (You can ask most stores to do this.)

Step 2: Educate
Rayne couldn’t find Roxie’s pet parents, but if you do, explain the dangers of leaving a pet in a hot car. Make sure the pet gets out of the car as soon as possible.

Step 3: Call 911
Fourteen states have enacted specific laws that protect dogs in hot cars, as have many municipalities—but even in places lacking such a law, leaving an animal in a hot car may constitute cruelty.

Rayne and the mall security officers dialed 911. When the police pulled Roxie from the steamy vehicle, she was very ill but soon on the road to recovery.

Step 4: Pat Yourself on the Back
Pets are counting on people like you to save their lives. Rayne rescued Roxie just in time, and she made a full recovery! And according to the Mankato Free Press, the pet-sitter who left Roxie in the car was charged with a petty misdemeanor.

For more ways to help animals beat the heat, please visit our Pet Care pages.


  • CoolMommyofboys
    July 28, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    I've never understood people that do this :(

  • xxLukesMamaxx
    July 28, 2011 at 6:33 PM
    Great information! People need to educate themselves!
  • earthangel1967
    July 28, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    I can't even comprehend how some people think or DONT think.

  • lovinangels
    July 28, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    You can bake cookies in a hot car. Really. If you would turn the air conditioner on, don't leave a living being without it.

  • Kaelansmom
    July 28, 2011 at 7:25 PM


  • betsystipo
    July 28, 2011 at 7:54 PM

     I just saw a dog in a car this morning - it was upper 70s at the time.  I didn't realize how much higher the temps could run in a car!  next time I'll do more

  • TruthSeeker.
    July 28, 2011 at 9:16 PM

     People can be complete turds sometimes.! Thanks for the info.

  • Charizma77
    July 28, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    I hate seeing dogs in hot cars :(

  • Kaelansmom
    July 29, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    You're welcome Truth...

    This makes me mad... especially here, on the post. The officer's wives (90% of the cars I see the dogs in) seem to like carrying their little fashion accesories everywhere and then can't take them into the store, so they end up in the car. ... bleh

  • lenoxclan
    July 29, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    Great article.. I can't believe ANYBODY would think it was ok to keep a pet in their car like this..grrrr.

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