Is It Safe to Leave a Dog in a Car?
Different states have their own specific laws around leaving dogs unattended in cars. However, most people will agree - just don’t do it! While owners are mostly worried about their dogs overheating in cars on a hot day, cold temperatures can also be very dangerous for your pooch.
Safe Outdoor Temperatures For Dogs
As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to keep your dog safe in all weather conditions. When dogs are left in cars when it’s hot outside, they are susceptible to overheating and heat stroke. Since dogs don’t sweat like humans do, they have a harder time cooling themselves off. Humidity also plays a part in your dog’s safety. The higher the humidity, the higher the risk for your dog.
Conversely, leaving your pup in the car when the temperature is under 45 degrees Fahrenheit can also be unsafe for your furbaby. Cold temperatures can cause hypothermia or frostbite, even breeds that are more resilient in the cold should not be left outdoors for long periods of time in below-freezing temperatures.
There really is no “safe” temperature to leave a dog in a car. You can’t regulate the temperature within the vehicle when it’s off, and it’s not wise to leave the car unattended while it’s running.
Why Dogs Shouldn’t Be Left Alone In Cars
Every year pets die needlessly because their owners were unaware of the dangers. It’s not safe to just pop into the store and leave your dog in the car, even with the windows cracked. The Humane Society notes that on an 85-degree day, a car with its windows partially rolled down reaches 102 degrees in only 10 minutes.
Many states allow authorities to enter a vehicle to rescue a pet if they believe them to be in danger. These personnel include law enforcement, firefighters, animal control, first responders, or authorized humane officers. Other states allow anyone to rescue a dog from entrapment in a car, even civilians. If this happens, your car may be damaged and you could potentially be fined or face jail time. Not to mention the trauma and risk to your dog!
What States Have Laws Against Leaving Dogs In Cars
We all know putting dogs at risk by leaving them alone in cars is discouraged. But is it legal to leave a dog in a car? Most states have explicit rules on the legality of leaving a dog unattended in a vehicle, and culprits usually do face animal cruelty charges. These (p)awesome states have very strict and specific laws about putting dogs at risk by leaving them alone in cars:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Whether you live in one of these states or not, if you see a dog alone in a car, you can and should alert the authorities.