The 'How-to' Dog Blog

What to Do if You See a Dog Left in a Hot Car

I leave my dog in the car from time to time.

I live in a coastal town where the mornings are cloudy, and we have a cool sea breeze. My dog waits for me while I run in to pick up a prescription or whatever it might be.

I love my dog very much, but I know some people would find my actions inexcusable.

There are, of course, very serious risks to leaving a dog alone in the car, and anyone who does so has to accept those risks:

And then there is one of the most serious issues – hot temperatures and how quickly a car heats up, even in the shade. A dog trapped inside can overheat and die in just a short period. You can read about the signs of heat stroke in dogs here.

So what should a dog lover do if she spots a dog left in a hot car?

Obviously, you have to use some common sense. But if you’re very concerned for the dog, what are some realistic options to consider?

Dr. Jeff Werber is a veterinarian with Century Veterinary Group in Los Angeles. He does not take the dangers of hot cars lightly. On a 75-degree day, he said a car can heat up to 100 degrees in just 10 minutes.

If you come across a dog left in a hot car, he said you have to use your best judgment based on the unique situation. In general, he recommends the following:

As a veterinarian, Werber said he would not hesitate to break a window to get a dog out if he felt the dog’s life was in danger.

Hopefully, none of us will ever come across such a situation, but it’s better to be prepared and think about what we might do ahead of time.

Have any of you ever helped a dog that was left in a hot car?

About Lindsay Stordahl

Lindsay Stordahl is a blogger for She has a black Lab mix named Ace and two naughty cats named Beamer and Scout. Lindsay owns a pet sitting business called Run That Mutt and also maintains the blog ... Add Lindsay to your Google+ circles at . You can follow Lindsay on Twitter @ThatMutt.