I do leave my black Lab mix Ace alone in my parked car.
This is just not a big deal to me.
If I leave him, it’s usually for 10 minutes while I run into the grocery store to get 1 or 2 items.
I don’t worry about the heat, because if it’s hot I don’t leave him.
Sometimes I do worry that some “animal rights” nutcase will break into my car to “rescue” my dog. I live in California, after all.
Has anyone else ever worried about that? Or am I just a worrier?
Don’t get me wrong, of course it can be dangerous to leave a dog alone in a hot car. The media love to remind us of this every year.
Honestly, I’m pretty sure we’re all plenty aware of the risks. Most people love their dogs very much and are not going to leave their dogs in the car if it’s not safe.
It’s called common sense.
And rather than worry about some silly rule like “cars can heat up to such-and-such temperature within such-and-such time,” it’s important to consider the real factors.
Quick factors to consider when leaving a dog in the car
Leave your ideas in the comments, and I’ll add them to this main list.
– The actual temperature outside is one thing, but how about humidity, direct sunlight and what it actually feels like outside?
– Is there a breeze? Is there shade?
– Is your dog already hot from running around? Is he sopping wet from swimming?
– And what about cold? Usually not a factor, but it can be.
– Also remember how quickly weather conditions can change in some areas.
Time you’ll be gone
– If you’re caught in line at the store, can you just drop your things and go back to the car?
– What if you’re in line at a bank or pharmacy? Can you come back later?
Trust in other people passing your car
– Is this a safe area? (sometimes a false sense of security, obviously)
– Is it a busy street or parking lot where someone could rear-end your car? (this happened to my parents when their dogs were in the car)
– Could there be kids/teenagers/drunk adults walking by who might tease your dog?
– Is your dog one that will bark and draw attention?
– Is it warm enough where someone might feel the need to “rescue” your dog?
Laws in your area
– Some states have laws against leaving a dog in a parked car under some circumstances such as extremely hot or extremely cold weather.
– In some areas, it’s legal to break into a car to rescue a dog.
Your dog’s comfort level being in the car
– Some dogs love being in the car, like my dog. Others find it stressful.
– Will your dog scratch at the door? Chew the seatbelts?
– Will he pace and pant frantically, giving off the appearance that he’s too hot?
– Will he bark nonstop and draw attention?
– Could he bite someone who reaches through the window?
It’s all common sense, right?
Frankly, it’s just not a big deal to me to leave a dog in the car for 10 minutes or even up to an hour or two in colder climates. I’ve done so countless times with my own dogs.
It’s probably because I’ve mostly lived in suburban or rural areas where this is common and I felt there were very few risks.
How about you?
Do you ever leave your dog alone in the car?
What other factors should be on this list?
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