Picture this: you're on your way to the grocery store for a quick stock up.
You've brought your furry friend along because leaving them in the house didn't feel viable to you or maybe they just begged for a little bit of outside time. Who's to tell, but nonetheless, they're with you. It's mildly hot day outside, and you've had your AC running full blast in the car. As you pull up, keys jingling in on hand, and wallet in the other, you step out the car reading to walk inside only to stop and realize oh, your dog is still in the car.
Well, you can't take them inside and there's no available area for them to roam about without expressed supervision so, you guess leaving them in the car is the only option, right? Maybe if you put on the AC, or roll the windows down, they'll be okay, I mean some parents, although irresponsibly, sometimes leave their kids in the car while they shop, how's this any different?
The truth is, there is no difference, and just like how you shouldn't leave young kids in a hot car on a mild day, you shouldn't leave your pets in there either. Dogs left in a car during hot weather can leave them subjected to dangerous conditions. In truth, there really is no real safe situation to leave your dog unattended in a vehicle, even for just a few minutes. While it may not feel as hot to you, weather conditions can change quickly, and so too does the changes of your dog's survival.
The risks of leaving your dog in a car.
There are many different risks your dog could develop when left unattended, understanding why not to, can help keep your safe from the following risks.
Heatstroke: The number one risk. This happens when an animal's inner body temperature rises above the normal range, leading to tissue damage and organ failure. It can cause severe suffering and animals will die at a quicker rate without explicit urgent care from a vet. Any dog, along with other animals, are susceptible to heatstroke, especially if they're small, young, or old obese. It takes all of six minutes for a dog to die in a hot car, and unlike humans, dogs have very few sweat glands, so there is no effective way at cooling them down.
Dehydration: another risk to dogs are dehydration, this happens when an animal is unable to replace the body fluids, such as water and electrolytes, at fast enough rate for healthy functioning. Dehydration can quickly become a medical emergency and even contribute to heatstroke. The secondary effects of heatstroke are widespread, affecting the cardiac, respiratory, gastrointestinal, nervous and muscular systems.
What you should do instead.
There is no real safe option for any dog to be left in a car unattended, even on not so hot days. The best option is to simply leave them at home where they can have access shade, water and shelter. But if you must take them with you and need to leave for a short time, secure them safely in a spot that is shady outside the car if possible. Provide them with water and someone reliable enough to supervise them until you return.