Did you know that a dog can die within 10 minutes of being locked in a hot car?
You’re walking into the store and you see a dog locked in a hot car. The windows are all the way up. And it’s going to be a hot day. What can you do? Instead of asking professions, I decided to ask other dog lovers what they’ve done in the past and what’s worked. I got a variety of answers and what I’m most satisfied to see is that everyone is passionate about dogs and will do what they need to do to keep our dogs safe.
Here are some things you can do when you see a dog locked in a hot car…
- Go in the store and ask the employees to page the car owner. One clever dog lover took a picture of the license plate with their phone and took it to store security. Sami Thompson makes sure that the dog owner takes this seriously by issuing the following page “Will the owner of a brown 2002 Chevy Caprice, license #2K4-9u7, please come to the front immediately? Your vehicle is involved is a life-threatening situation.” That almost always gets the owner to the front of the store.”
- Call the 911. This is a crime in some cities and the dog owner is subject to a fine. Carlo shared that we should treat the situation the same as if we see a child in a locked car. In other cities, the Fire Department responds to these calls.
- Check to see if the doors will open. Then call the police. Sherry once left a frozen candy bar in a car and in the Florida heat, it was completely thawed in 10 minutes. She asks “Imagine what happens to a dog?”
- See if you can open the window. JP Denyer said that he’s tried to fit his hand/arm through a cracked window to open the door. He warns that the dog may bite.
- Wait for the dog owners and politely explain how quickly a dog can succumb to the rising temperatures inside a hot car.
- Start educating the public about the dangers of leaving our dogs in cars on hot days. The internet is a fantastic place to spread information; encourage your local rescue groups to start posting messages on their site, message boards, in forums and groups, and in their Community.
The dog lover who inspired this post (Jennifer Michelle, Jennifer Michelle Communications) created a card that she would give to dog owners when she sees that they’re about to lock their dog in a hot car. Feel free to download the below image if you’d like to hand them out in your Community. Or you can follow Sami Thompson’s lead and just leave a handwritten note.
The possible reactions you’ll receive…
- Some people will be angry, annoyed, or embarrassed. Some people really don’t know. Despite the reaction you receive, take your ego out of the situation, don’t take it personally, and walk away proud that you saved a dog’s life and educated a dog owner. Although someone may be annoyed, they won’t be able to repeat the story without being chastised again, and they will remember the next time and roll down those windows or (better still) leave their dog at home.
In my inquiry, I asked dog owners if they’d repeat their actions and everyone who responded said they will always act when they see a dog locked in a hot car. Many of us aren’t confrontational people, we just love dogs and that love inspires us to act when we see a dog in danger.
Please share your ideas in the comments below about what dog lovers can do when they see a dog in a hot car…
Thank you to the dog lovers who contributed to this article:
Cal Orey, Nancy Houle, Terri Jay, Carlo Powe-Crawford, Sherry Friedlander Olsen, Christel Hall, Lori Byron, Aimee Elizabeth, Jim Hawkins, Bob Carlson, Barbara Kaberna, Sami Swan Thompson, Bettie Biehn, and Juli Oliver.