Pets in Hot Cars

Happy Monday! Now that summer is upon us, the weather can have a significant impact on our pets’ health and well being. This week the staff at Anza Animal Clinic want to share some safety tips regarding pets in hot cars.

Did you know that interior car air temperatures can rise by up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit in only 10 minutes?

Estimated Vehicle Interior Air Temperature v. Elapsed Time
Elapsed time Outside Air Temperature (F)  
70 75 80 85 90 95  
0 minutes 70 75 80 85 90 95  
10 minutes 89 94 99 104 109 114  
20 minutes 99 104 109 114 119 124  
30 minutes 104 109 114 119 124 129  
40 minutes 108 113 118 123 128 133  
50 minutes 111 116 121 126 131 136  
60 minutes 113 118 123 128 133 138  
> 1 hour 115 120 125 130 135 140  

Courtesy Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University

Studies also show that leaving windows cracked or open has very little effect on lowering the car’s internal temperature. Even on a cloudy day, car temperatures can climb to dangerously high temperatures.

The following types of pets are most vulnerable to overheating in extreme temperatures:

  • Young
  • Elderly
  • Overweight
  • Those with thick coats
  • Those with dark colored coats
  • Those with short muzzles (brachycephalic breeds)

We strongly advise against leaving your pet unattended in a vehicle for any length of time, but in many states it is actually illegal to leave your pet unattended in a vehicle.

Did you know that, in the state of California, it is illegal to leave a pet unattended in your vehicle under dangerously hot weather conditions?

As of 2018, 28 states have enacted laws regarding animals left unattended in vehicles under dangerous conditions such as extreme weather. For more information on which states have these vehicle laws in place, click here.

If you do leave your pet in your vehicle on a hot day, even for a just a couple of minutes, your vehicle could be damaged, you could be fined, or you could be charged with a crime. The law states that, if a person passing by a vehicle with an animal inside determines that the animal is in immediate danger, that person is authorized to remove the animal from the vehicle. As long as that person contacts local law enforcement, acts in good faith, does not use excessive force to remove the animal, and turns the animal over to the appropriate law enforcement agency when they arrive on scene, that person will not face legal consequences. If the animal is injured, the owner may be required to pay any veterinary expenses that arise. In addition, the owner may face fines or legal consequences if law enforcement decides to pursue animal cruelty charges.

Image courtesy of ASPCA.

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