What To Do If You Spot A Dog Locked In a Car

No logical thought pattern in the world would ever lead someone to the conclusion that they should leave their dog locked in a car on a hot summer day, right? Well, it just so appears that not everyone thinks rationally, as we keep hearing stories of people breaking dogs out of warm, locked cars and pictures posted by people criticizing owners for such behavior.

However, the people who do this probably don’t mean to bring any harm to their beloved pet, but simply act out of poor judgment. Please find a safe, cool place for your dog to be while you run your errands and do not under any circumstances leave it in a locked car on a warm day, even if you leave the windows open.


There are many things that dogs perceive differently than we do, like the sense of smell for example, and heat is one of them. Dogs sweat through panting and glands between the toes in the paws. However, when a dog is trapped inside a hot car, it can no longer effectively rid itself of the heat. That is due to the lack of cool fresh air to replace the stale one. Having a dog stay at a hot place for a while can be fatal, as it can cause a heart stroke.

Heart Strokes happen when a dog can no longer regulate its own body temperature. A pup’s body temperature is regulated through their panting, therefore its respiratory tract wouldn’t be able to get rid of the warmth fast enough. This process can only take a few minutes to happen – that is how fast dog can be overcome by heat.


If you do happen to see a dog locked in a car, take a moment to look for any signs of distress on the dog before taking any actions. Here’s what to do when you come across such a situation:

Don’t call the police right away. While you might want to raise awareness to the owner, you don’t want to assume that they are acting out of cruelty and get them into trouble. Talk to them first.

Start distributing or hanging awareness flyers around. Maybe join an animal rights organization to be able to spread the dangers of locking these animals in.

If the owner doesn’t want to listen or continues to leave the dog in the car, check different sources that can guide you through the animal laws in your state and then proceed to call it in as animal abuse. You can make sure to check:


Federal Statutes

State Law

City Law

County Law

Regulations from Federal agencies


The myth about leaving the air conditioner on:

Although the idea sounds nice, it could go horribly wrong. It is not a rare occasion where the air conditioner shuts downs and starts to blow hot air. When the engine gets too hot, it can lead to the air system’s compressor kicking off. All cars, even modern ones with computerized functions are prone to have the same issue.


All in all, don’t trust an engine with your beloved companion, just take them along with you or ask a trusted person to keep an eye on them while you are gone. Keep water with you at all times and make sure to keep your pup in the shade if you are out on a sunny day.




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