Most dogs enjoy riding in cars and joining us in our summer adventures, but leaving them in a hot car can be fatal.

Many of us believe that as long as we are parked in the shade and the windows are down, it’s okay to leave for a few minutes. But the fact is, cars absorb heat and it only takes about 10 minutes for the temperature inside to increase ~10℃.

This reference shows how quickly temperatures can rise even when the outside temperatures may not be too hot for us!

OutsideTemp Inside Temp After 10 min
21 C 27 C 40 C
24 C 34 C 43 C
27 C 37 C 45.5 C
29 C 40 C 48 C
32 C 43 C 51 C
35 C 45 C 54 C

It is important to keep in mind that it’s not just temperature, but also humidity. Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat, instead, they pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs. This takes the heat away from their body and cools them down, but if the humidity is too high they cannot cool down and will increase their body temperature instead.

Did you know that studies have shown that leaving your windows open in your car makes little to no difference to the rate at which the temperature increases?

Some breeds are also more prone to overheating than others. This includes dogs with thick or long hair, active dogs, or working/hunting breeds, such as Shepherds, Retrievers, and Spaniels, very young or very old dogs, or the “short-headed” breeds, such as Boxers, Boston Terriers, Pugs, Bulldogs, and more.

What about leaving the air conditioning on?

This might sound like a good idea, but newer car engines can automatically turn off after running a while, and older ones can sometimes fail. When they do, chances are your car is now blowing out hot air instead of cold, so leaving the engine running and the AC on can provides a false sense of security to pet owners.

Leaving dogs in vehicles is a serious issue and according to the Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS), police and inspectors are allowed to enter vehicles to help pets in distress. Ontario is one of many provinces with strict laws to penalize pet owners who violate animal welfare laws.

Some Tips to consider :

  • Unable to have your dog by your side, leave them at home.
  • When traveling with a passenger, have them stay in the car with the dog and the air conditioning on.
  • Unable to leave your dog at home, bring them to daycare or a kennel and pick them up when you’re done.

If you suspect your dog is starting to overheat, take action immediately.

Here are some things that you can do to help your dog cool down:

  • Immediately move your dog to a cooler area, preferably inside with air conditioning, which reduces both the temperature and the humidity in the air.
  • Give your dog fresh and cool water, but don’t force it, if your dog refuses water, try just wetting their tongue. Do not offer ice as it cools down the body too fast and can lead to shock.
  • Spray or immerse your dog in cool water (but not iced) for up to 2 minutes.
  • Apply cool, wet towels to their paws, stomach and chest areas to gradually cool their body temperature.

If your dog is not responding to the above treatment take them to the vet immediately!

Have fun this summer with your dog and play it safe. To help your dog beat the heat – consider us for daycare – visit for more information.