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At what temp is it not safe for a dog in a parked car? Experts answer

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It seems that every year the debate about dogs left in cars comes up when temperatures reach the 90s, but according the experts it is NOT safe when the temperature is even lower. The debate extends even further than your own pup, but what if you see someone else’s dog left alone?

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I was walking through a parking lot with my 8 year old son and we saw that, a dog in a car, in the sun, with the air temperature in the upper 80s. The window was rolled down all the way and it wasn’t humid out, but was it safe? He wanted to help, but wasn’t sure what to do. So I turned to social media to ask that simple question. We presented the situation and simply asked, “What do you think?” I did this in part to share with him about popular opinion, but also to get some ideas.

I was shocked that with over 1000 comments on this Facebook post, some were quite nasty saying to mind my own business or accusing me of starting a controversy. Others had bad things to say about the owner. I prefer not to ‘go there’. In fact, I never made any accusations and didn’t suggest either what to do or what we did. Just simply asked. Perhaps the heat increases rudeness online? However, there was overwhelming support to spread good will. Local police and fire departments, vets, and even The Humane Society of the United States thanked me for bringing it to public attention. See what the experts said below and posters in the slide show:

Is your dog cool? See the video demonstration here from redrover.org Note that uses a partially opened window, but a fully opened window does not make the car much cooler, especially with little to no wind.

  • This is not about a baby in a car debate. With pets, they don’t react to heat the same way people do so we can’t compare how we would feel.
  • Dogs DO NOT sweat! They pant, and have fur coats- so they can’t cool off like people do.
  • DO NOT act on your own. Get the location and tag number then contact a manager in a local store or the police.

Officer T.J.Smith (@TJSmithAACoPD) Exec.Officer/Director of Media Relations for @AACoPD actual Twitter messages to me:

  • It's all about context. If it's truly 5 mins. Not egregious. If it's 15 mins in this weather, it's BAD!
  • The inside of a car gets hotter than being outside. And hot water is bad!
  • And another problem (with leaving a window fully open), what if the dog jumps out and A) Attacks someone? B) gets hit by a car?
  • Just not a good practice on an 80 degree day! Period!
  • We don't want vigilantes going overboard, but what you did was fine.- (questioning on social media)

ShareAlert from AACoPD on Facebook

*By the way, the dog my son and I saw was in a car outside a fast food restaurant. The owner was inside for at least 15 minutes having lunch. So according to the officials, this was not safe. The message is not about trying to get any people in trouble, but rather keep their loved pets out of trouble. Hopefully that message will spread with a positive spin.

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