Can I Leave My Dog In The Car If I’m Only Going To Be A Few Minutes?

(Picture Credit: Matthias Rietschel/Getty Images)

(Picture Credit: Matthias Rietschel/Getty Images)


I’m concerned about heat stroke this summer. Is it ok to leave my dog in the car while I do a five-minute errand?


Every year pets — and even children — die because they were left in a car for “just a minute.” The car acts like an oven when the sun is shining on it. The heat quickly builds up due to the radiant energy from the hot metal, so “cracking” a window is not adequate. If it is 90 degrees outside, the interior of the car can be 113 degrees within 10 minutes and 120 degrees by 20 minutes. The animal is being cooked.

Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that causes high body temperature (above 105 degrees), rapid pulses, difficulty breathing, and disorientation. In the car this can happen within minutes. Even with quick, heroic, and expensive treatment, an animal can progress to swelling of the brain, kidney failure or/and DIC (the inability to clot blood).

This is such a potentially fatal but preventable condition. One should never leave any animal or child unattended in a car.