Keeping Pets Safe On Hot Days

By Kim Wonderley, KCBS Radio

June 12, 2019
Dog in a car (Photo credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) — With temperatures at all-time highs in the Bay Area in recent days, it's worth reviewing the risks of leaving your pet unattended in your car and what you can do if you see someone else's dog in distress.

All you have to do is log onto community message boards like Nextdoor or Patch to find out that not all of our neighbors have gotten the message about keeping dogs safe in hot weather.

Soaring temperatures or even seasonably warm days can send create dangerously hot conditions inside of cars even if the windows are cracked open. 

Consider these equations next time you decide to run errands with your pooch aboard. In merely 10 minutes inside your car, temperatures can rise 20 degrees, in 20 minutes, it can rise 30 degrees. Consider the fact that San Francisco reached 95 degrees this week. A 10-minute trip to the post office could mean your dog is sitting in 115 degree heat. If the line at the post office takes longer than expected, a thermometer in the car would hit 125 degrees after 20 minutes. 

Cracking open a window does provide some ventilation but doesn't do much as far as relieving the interior temperature. Vets warn of heat stroke and even death if pets are unattended for too long without access to water .

California law states that if you see an animal in a vehicle clearly in distress and the vehicle is locked, you are allowed to break out the window if you first alert local law enforcement or animal control. Then you must remain with the animal until local emergency response arrives. Move the dog to shade or an air conditioned room, wet them down with cool, but not ice cold) water. A damp towel can help bring down the body temperature too. Offering water to drink is also advised.