Unfortunately, the news of a child being left in a car with heat exposure is popular and awareness is in full effect. However, hearing about a dog being left in a smoldering hot car with the windows up doesn’t usually make headline news. What if you witnessed this situation? Would you know what to do?  The leading cause of a heat stroke (known as hyperthermia) in dogs is the negligence of owners leaving them in a hot car without sufficient ventilation. Since dogs only expel heat through their feet and mouths, the severity of the issue is no surprise.  Even the healthiest of dogs can suffer this unnecessary fate.


In the event you find yourself, the passerby to an overheated pup in someone’s car, know that every second is crucial. Here are a few steps you should take immediately.


  1. Look for the warning signs and use your best judgment to chose what step you’ll need to begin.


Heatstroke (hyperthermia) warning signs:

  • Panting and drooling excessively
  • Appears tired, dizzy, or confused
  • Unconscious
  • Vomiting


  1. Take down the make and model of car with license plate information.
  2. If near a business, go inside and ask to make an announcement.
  3. If you cannot locate the owner or you feel taking the time to locate them is too risky, call local law enforcement.


Tennessee and Wisconsin are the only states that allow concerned citizens to break into vehicles to rescue an animal, although many other states  “hot car” laws that allow public officials to do so when necessary.  Check with your state to know what laws apply to you.

Until next time,

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