Pets in Cars


Many people enjoy bringing their pets along on errands. Although this can be fun, it can be dangerous for pets. Cars can be dangerous for animals and many places do not allow animals. This forces someone to leave their pet in the car. In the coming summer months, it is important to know what could happen if a pet is left in the car.

On the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website, they show a chart with outdoor temperatures, and the temperature in a vehicle over time. This chart shows that even if it is just 70 degrees outside, within just half an hour it can get to 104 degrees. Temperatures can rise even more in a darker colored car or in a car with dark windows. These high temperatures can lead to heat stroke or even death. “Pet Place,” a vet approved pet information website, tells of the effects of heat on animals. Common heat illnesses they list are heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. “Pet Place” also says that pets on medications, younger pets (puppies and kittens), and pets with airway obstructions or breathing problems (common in bulldogs) are more at risk for heat stroke.

The American Veterinary Medical Association says, “Just as you should always wear your seatbelt to protect you in case of a collision, your pet should always be properly restrained while in the vehicle.” Animals on laps can be a distraction and could cause an accident. In a car accident, an unsecured pet could be thrown forward and injured or if they are on a person’s lap they could be crushed by an airbag in the front seat. Dogs hanging out the window of a car can leave chance for them to be injured by any object flying through the air. This also puts them at risk of falling out of the car or being hit by a passing car if they are hanging out too far. Backs of trucks are similar to this because pets can be jolted around and are very unrestrained and at risk to any outdoor elements.

Although taking a pet along on a car ride or errand can be fun, it is important to take measures to keep pets safe. It is also important to decide whether a pet needs to go along for an activity and if they will be allowed where someone is going so they are not left in a car or put in a potentially dangerous situation.