Most dog owners are terrified of leaving their dogs in the cars on hot summer afternoons. Well, who would blame them? After all, every year PETA receives so many reports of dogs dying in hot cars!
However, if you want to take a quick hike, you might have to leave your dog behind every once in a while. I know you love your dog, and you want him/her to feel comfortable all the time. But you have no idea how to keep a dog cool in a car.
I know this is a sensitive topic. You should never leave your dog unattended in cars for long periods. Even when temperatures outside are cool, temperatures inside cars escalate pretty fast. So what can you do?
You can keep your dog cool inside a car by getting reflective window shades, investing in a dog cooling pad, cooling vest, temperature monitoring sensors and having a portable water bowl.
But there’s much more you need to know. For instance, do you know how long a dog can stay inside a locked car? Is it even legal to do so? Let’s us find out togenther.
Is It Legal To Leave Your Dog In The Car?
The laws on whether to leave your dog in the car varies from one state to another. If you’re thinking of leaving your dog in the car, take into consideration the state you’re in and their laws regarding leaving dogs inside cars.
For example, it’s illegal to leave your dog in the car on extremely cold/hot days in California. The law goes on to state that on any given day, a dog inside a car must have access to water and a cracked window opening.
Most of these laws were implemented after the tragic death of dogs in extreme heat inside cars. Some States have even given permission for people to break into cars if there is a dog that needs rescuing.
Further research indicates that some states even recommend having food inside the car for the dog. However, it is pretty difficult to follow this one as some dogs eat everything given in minutes.
You need to take the laws and precautions seriously to avoid expenses from a smashed window or a ticket. However, your main concern should be the well-being of your dog.
How To Keep A Dog Cool In A Car?
As noted earlier, high temperatures inside your car can kill your dogs. You can keep your dog cool inside the car on hot summer afternoons by doing the following.
Use Reflective Window Shades
When you’re driving in the heat of the day, don’t forget to put up your reflective window shades! This will help reflect some of that sun and make it cooler for your dog. Aluminum window shades are great because they won’t rust or break down over time like wooden ones do. They also have a reflective coating which helps prevent sunburns on your dog.
The shades reflects heat away, keeping your dog cool.
Use Petgear Car Window Guard
If you use any kind of pet carrier or crate, this is an absolute must-have item. It keeps the windows from rattling around when you drive and prevents them from getting damaged. The window guard is easy to install and comes with detailed instructions so you shouldn’t have any trouble putting it up. A window guard ensures you can leave windows open for air to circulate while you’re away.
Cool Dog Tailgate Lock
Most tailgates come equipped with a lock, but if yours doesn’t, you should get one. Your dog may try to jump out of the car at stop lights or other traffic jams and he could easily be injured. Also, if you need to quickly exit your vehicle, having a locked tailgate makes it much easier. You may need professional help to install it though.
A Tailgate lock works by having the keypad outside the door slightly and allowing air to circulate freely. leave the front windows slightly open for the breeze to enter and leave by the trunk. The technique is also used in most apartments where the front door and back door open. You end up creating a wind tunnel that passes through cooling your car.
Keep Your Dog Hydrated
Make sure to always have water available for your dog when he is riding along with you. Dogs are naturally much more active than people, so they need a lot of fluids. Get a portable water bowl or even better – get one of those collapsible bowls which allow you to carry them around easily.
Invest In A Cooling Pad
If your dog has been sitting too long in the back seat, then you may want to invest in a cooling pad. These pads come in different sizes but usually fit well under the seat in front of the dog. They work best when there is air flow between the dog and the cushion.
You can also use a cooling vest for the same purpose.
Keep AC ON At All Times
Make sure you keep your car AC the moment you leave it. You want to set the right temperature settings before leaving. For dogs, the ideal body temperature is 101.0 to 102.5°F.
Wireless Temperature Monitoring Sensors
You can install a temperature sensor to alert if your temperatures go beyond a certain level. This way, you can always monitor your car temperatures even when away.
Don’t Leave Your Dog Alone For Too Long:
The last thing you want to do is leave your dog alone in the car while you go into the store. Even if your dog seems fine right now, he could quickly start feeling ill once the temperature starts rising.
How Long Can A Dog Stay In A Cool Car?
There is no specific duration for dogs to stay in a cool car. We’ve seen how temperatures can change fast inside cars. Let’s say you want to grab something from a store in 5 minutes.
Is it safe leaving the dog inside for 5 minutes? You’ll probably be taking chances with the life of your dog. There is no case where people have intended to leave their dogs inside the car so that they can die of heat.
You’ll say it’s for a minute but most people get distracted and forget. Here is a good thumb rule to follow: Car temperatures rise by 19 degrees F in 10 minutes and by 43 degrees F in 60 minutes. This from a study done by the American Association of Pediatrics.
The Study was done on small sedans parked at 72 to96 degrees F. It goes to show the high risk of leaving your dog inside the car for a few minutes.
Below are temperature graphs to show the rise in temperature against time.
From the study, we can conclude that it’s safe for a dog to stay in a cool car for as little as 5-10 minutes. However, your car must be parked in a shade and you should follow the methods I talked about earlier.
Well, that’s it from me! Taking care of your dog while on the road is crucial. If possible, don’t leave your dog inside the car unattended. However, if you have to, park the car in a cool place, provide the dog with sufficient water.
We’ve already seen how quickly temperatures inside cars can change. So, leave for not more than 10 minutes. In addition, you can use cooling devices and make frequent checks on your dog.