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How Hot Does it Get in a Parked Car? Ask Dr. Ernie Ward!

How Hot Does it Get in a Parked Car? Ask Dr. Ernie Ward!


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Dr. Ernie Ward undertakes a sizzling experiment to see what it feels like to a dog to be left in a parked car for thirty minutes during warm weather. As the the mercury rises, it becomes quickly evident that a hot car can be a fatal place for a dog.


Cool outside doesn't mean cool in the car

It doesn't have to be that warm outside for a car to become dangerously hot inside.

  • When it's 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit within an hour.
  • When it's 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 99 degrees Fahrenheit within 10 minutes.
  • Rolling down the windows has been shown to have little effect on the temperature inside a car.

Keep pets safe when it's hot outside! See More Tips

Leaving pets locked in cars is never safe. But when the weather gets warmer, it can be deadly. Pledge to never leave your pet in a hot car.


Hot Weather Tips For Your Pet

Summertime is a time for fun and frolicking but it’s also fraught with danger for our pets. When the temperature rises, we need to take extra caution to make sure our pets are okay in the heat. Here are some key tips to help keep your pet cool and safe.

Don’t leave your pet alone in the car on a warm day

Despite the warnings, every year, pets die after their owners leave them in a parked car that overheats. Within just a few minutes, a car can get extremely shot, stifling, and deadly. Dr. Ernie Ward did an experiment on a warm summer’s day in which he sat in a parked car with the windows cracked. He wanted to see just how hot it would get. Within 30 minutes it was 117 degrees inside the car. “Never, ever leave your dog in a parked car on a warm day,” he pleads at the end of the video he made to document his experience. That goes for any pet, by the way!

Be Vigilant About Vet Care

When it starts getting warm outside, take your dog or cat to the vet for a full check up. The check up should include a heartworm test and a flea and tick protection plan. These are year-round issues but in the summer months, with much more outdoors time, it’s especially important to monitor them.

Avoid Walking Your Dog In the Heat

Aim for mornings and evenings when letting your dog outside, cautions Dr. Marty Becker in his article, “Beat the Heat Tips for Your Dog.” Sometimes, though, it’s just hot all day long and Dr. Becker says, “Even in the coolest part of the day, watch for signs of trouble: Glassy eyes and frantic panting indicate a dog who needs help. Get to a veterinarian immediately if you see these symptoms!”

Keep Your Home Cool for your pets

When the temperature outside gets hot, it can be harder to keep the indoors cool. Some people turn their air conditioning off when they leave for the day. If you have a pet at home, this could put him in danger. A Vetstreet.com article, “Summer Hazards and Your Dog,” advises: “Instead of turning off the air conditioner, try leaving it on a conservative but comfortable setting (perhaps 76°F) while you are out.” The article recommends you make sure your pet has water and, “consider closing curtains to reduce the heating effects of sunlight through the windows.”

Give Your Pets Access to Shade and Plenty of Water

Pets can get dehydrated or get heatstroke quickly so any pet outside needs to have plenty of water and access to shade.

Know Which Dogs Are Less Tolerant of Heat

Dr. Becker reminds us that some dog breeds are less tolerant of the heat than others. “Remember that older, obese or short-nosed dogs (Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, Boxers, Shih Tzu’s and French Bulldogs) are less tolerant of heat.” Also, older dogs, puppies and dogs with health issues can also be more susceptible to hot weather. Of course, you should keep a close eye on your dog in the heat, no matter what his breed, age or state of health.

Our pets rely on us to protect them and keep them comfortable and safe year round! Remember, if you’re hot, your pets are definitely hot.


Seasonal grooming considerations

Grooming all dogs, even dogs with short coats, helps to keep them comfortable as the seasons change. A natural coat that has been groomed offers protection from sunburn and acts as cooling insulation. Shaving your dog’s coat will take away that protection. If you give your dog a close cut for summer, she may need protection from the sun, so consult a veterinarian about whether your pet needs a pet-approved sunscreen on exposed areas. Dogs with bald patches or minimal coats may need sunscreen, as well as Nordic breeds of dogs, who are prone to auto-immune-related sun diseases.

A little empathy goes a long way in protecting our pets from extreme weather. If it’s too hot for us to stay comfortable in the car, in the yard or on a walk, it’s even hotter for our furry friends.


If you are at home or out in the garden try giving your dog a few ice cubes to lick or freeze one of his favourite chew toys.

Make sure your dog doesn’t play too hard while in the sun. During particularly hot spells walk them early in the morning or later in the evening. And make sure they take breaks between playing. This includes swimming, particularly if your dog doesn’t venture into the water regularly. Swimming in a safe place can be fun but overdoing it can cause exhaustion, low blood sugar and ‘swimmer’s tail’ where the tail can be painful or immobile.


Watch the video: How to Protect Your Car in Hot Weather