Can I Keep My Pet in My Car During The Winter?

We love our pets and want them to go to as many places as we do! While there are many stores and businesses that are dog-friendly, there are still many that are not; most dog in carstores where food is prepared or served inside do not allow pets. Because of this, many pet owners consider leaving their dogs in the car – particularly as the weather outside gets colder.

Can I leave my pet in a cold car?

We all know the dangers of leaving animals in the car during the summer. If the temperature is even a mild 70 degrees, it can reach the 90s inside a vehicle within 10 minutes; for pets, this can lead to dangerous overheating, suffering, and even heat stroke. But what about during the winter when temperatures are cool? Is there ever a safe temperature to leave an animal in a vehicle?

The short answer is, unfortunately, no. Dogs and other pets should never be left unattended in a vehicle, no matter the outside temperature. While outside temperatures in the 60s and 70s can lead to overheating and heat exposure, temperatures in the 50s or colder can lead to cold-related issues such as hypothermia.

The dangers of cold cars for pets

When the weather outside is cold, the temperature inside a car can quickly drop. Cracking the window in an effort to improve circulation can often serve to just cool the car down faster. While all pets are at risk of cold-related issues, small animals or those that are ill, thin, or older are at a particular risk of problems such as hypothermia. No matter their size or health, animals should not be left unattended in a vehicle for any length of time – no matter the weather.

What do I do if I see an unattended dog?

Whether it is in the winter or the summer, seeing an unattended dog left in a car can be upsetting. However, this doesn’t mean that taking things into your own hands is the best course of action. In total, 31 states have laws that prohibit leaving an animal in a confined vehicle; 15 states (AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, IN, KS, LA, MA, OH, OR, TN, VT, and WI) have laws that protect those who attempt to rescue trapped animals.

Before resorting to drastic measures, try to find the owner first. Write down the make, model, and license plate number of the car; ask the management of nearby businesses to page customers over the loudspeaker. If the owner does not come forward, contact local law enforcement or animal control to ensure the pet is quickly, safely, and legally removed.

If you aren’t sure you’ll be able to take your dog inside every location you’re visiting this winter, its best to leave them at home. For more information on traveling with your pet or on caring for them during the winter, contact Five Points Animal Hospital today!

By Dr. Janet Grace | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Can I Keep My Pet in My Car During The Winter?

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