Leaving a dog locked inside a car, hot or not, is never safe. High temperatures can cause severe organ damage and even death to any animal. Locking a dog in a hot vehicle is like putting it inside a microwave and pressing the start button. Temperatures escalate so quickly that the animal will become helpless in a matter of minutes.

Once a dog accidentally gets locked inside a car, call an auto locksmith right away! The animal’s chances to be saved depend on the owner’s ability to respond fast. It’s always good to have the phone number of a local locksmith company saved in the contacts list, just in case. This practice has helped hundreds of drivers to save their four legged friends.

What happens to a dog that is locked inside a hot car?

Dogs react to heat differently than humans do. They sweat by panting and perspiring from their paws. They cannot rid their bodies of the heat that is trapped inside, by simply panting and sweating, because there is not enough fresh air to replace the stale, heated air. In other words, a dog locked in a hot car for too long is likely to have a heat stroke and eventually die.

To break it down, a heat stroke occurs when a dog’s body is unable to regulate its temperature naturally. If a canine’s respiratory tract cannot dispel the heat quickly enough, a heat stroke can transpire.

Another thing to take note of is the outside temperature. Most people think that because it’s cool outside, it’s ok to leave the pet inside the car and do quick shopping. Wrong! If it’s cool outside, it doesn’t mean that it will be cool inside the car a few minutes later.


  • The temperature inside a car can escalate up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit within an hour, when it’s just about 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside.
  • Bringing down the windows will not make much of a difference – the air inside the vehicle will remain hot.
  • The temperature in a vehicle can increase up to 99 degrees Fahrenheit in just under 10 minutes.

Many people also leave their pets locked inside a car, without turning off the air conditioner. It’s wrong to think that the animal will be safe, due to the circulation of cool air. For example, in 2003, a police dog in Texas died, as a result of hot air blowing from the air conditioning unit, after it broke down. The AC’s compressor kicked off, because the engine was too hot. A similar issue can happen to any car, old or new.

In another incident, a couple from North Carolina lost their two dogs in August 2014, and nearly lost a third one, as a result of a similar situation. They had the air conditioning system on, and even bowls of cold water in the car. Their shopping trip took only 30 minutes, but that was enough for the tragedy to occur. It happened while they were gone.


What can be done to save the life of a pet that s locked inside a hot car?

As mentioned above, if a dog and the driver’s set of keys get accidentally locked inside a vehicle, it’s important to call a professional locksmith immediately. If that cannot be done for whatever reason, the window should be smashed, in order to take the dog out, before it’s too late.

Once a car with a pet locked inside is seen, it’s extremely important to act fast and proactively. If the owner does not show up quickly, the police and the local animal shelter must be contacted immediately.

State Laws Regarding Pets Locked in a Vehicle

In many states, there are no penalties for leaving a pet inside an unattended vehicle, although offenders can and do face animal cruelty charges. There are some states, however, that prohibit leaving an animal inside a car. Here are a few examples:

California: it is illegal to leave pets in an unattended car, under conditions that can endanger its well-being, due to cold, heat, lack of food, lack of ventilation, or other causes that may lead to fatality, disability, or suffering.

New York: a companion animal cannot be confined to an automobile, or any place where the animal is exposed to extreme cold or heat, without proper ventilation, which can lead to serious injuries or death.

Other states like Illinois, Minnesota, Maine, North Carolina, Nevada, New Jersey, etc. follow similar regulations regarding pets that are locked in a vehicle, or a confined area that may pose danger to their health.

Dog owners – please be responsible! Don’t take your furry friends with you, if there is a need to stop somewhere and leave it inside, even if it’s just for a few minutes. It only takes a few minutes to save a life and it only takes a few minutes to lose one.