Dogs in Cars

Yes, dogs die in hot cars.  And yes, there are climates where, for most of the year, even parking in the shade with the windows for just a few minutes down may not be enough to keep the dog cool enough.  And yes, they cook to death in the heat.

But lets clear a few things up.  Cause this is just ridiculous.

First off, dogs don’t suffocate in cars.  I have yet to see a single consumer vehicle that actually seals air tight.  Maybe some of the newest high end fancy cars with extra good sound insulation are (though I doubt it, cause what car maker wants to be sued because you suffocated in their car).  But certainly the average car on the road isn’t.  A dog in a car with the windows rolled up isn’t going to suffocate to death.  No matter what the weather conditions.

Second, even in the hottest climates in the USA, if the dog is in a car that has been left with the AC going the dog is not going to overheat.

And in much of the rest of the country, parking in the shade with the windows most of the way down is plenty on all but the insanely hottest of days to keep a healthy dog from overheating.

And if the car owner has put up shading and a fan and water then the dog is REALLY  not going to overheat.

Oh, and while we’re at it, “panting” alone is not a sign that a dog is overheating.  Yes, I know that the little blurbs that the media keeps putting out say that “panting” is a sign of overheating.  You know what?  They’re fucking stupid.  Dogs pant for MANY more reasons than just because they’re hot.  Stress or excitement can cause panting.  You coming over to pound on the window and stare at the dog could be enough to cause a sensitive dog to start panting.  And even it the dog is panting because its warm it doesn’t mean he’s overheating.  A dog who pops up to greet you isn’t overheating.  Even if he’s panting.  Even if he’s fussing at you.  A dog doesn’t sweat, he pants instead.  Just like us humans can be sweating (even sweating alot) without being in danger of heat stroke, a dog can be panting (even panting alot) without being in danger of heat stroke.

A dog who’s panting due to overheating is ALSO going to be flat on the floor or footwell of the car in the only shade he can find, and he’s NOT likely to pop to his feet to greet you.  A dog who’s panting due to overheating will ALSO be drooling excessively.

You know what causes a dog to crash suddenly from overheating?  Assholes who can’t mind their own business and so over-excite the dog by pounding on the window and calling the dog and exciting the dog to the point where he overheats himself in his excitement and crashes.  Yes, by repeatedly “checking on the dog” you could cause him to overheat and potentially die.  So back off asshole.

And third……I keep seeing it reported that there are 16 states where it’s illegal to leave your dog in the car.  Do any of those folks actually bother to READ the laws they’re reporting on?

In 15 of those 16 states the laws  specifically require that the dog be left in such a way that harm or death will result in order for it to be illegal.  And in case you somehow got to this paragraph without reading the above, no, leaving your dog in the car does not automatically sentence him to death.

The only state with laws specific to dogs in cars that doesn’t have that provision is Tennessee.  And even in Tennessee you’d better be willing to swear under oath that you believed the animal was in imminent danger of death.  Unfortunately there are idiots who think that any dog left in any car regardless of anything else is in danger, which makes laws like this one dangerous.  

Now, I keep seeing online commentary that there are individual cities with laws prohibiting dogs in cars.  I’ve yet to actually be able to find any such law.  Several have laws similar to the above mentioned 15 states, where leaving a dog in a car in a manner that will result in harm or death is specifically prohibited, but again that’s not the same thing.  Mind, apparently even some responding police seem to be unaware of the difference, but that’s what the laws state.

In addition, not one of these so-called rescuers seems to care what the impact of “being rescued” can have on the dog.  There are many many dogs who are not stranger friendly, or who will guard their owner’s car, or who will even bite when cornered.  And contrary to popular opinion many dogs don’t give a care what your intentions are, all they know is that some stranger just smashed the window and is now cornering them in the back of the car…..it’s only a matter of time before some “rescuer” is bitten in the process of trying to “rescue” a dog who doesn’t need it.  And in many many areas that bite is a death sentence for the dog.  Especially since it would be considered “unprovoked” in the minds of many people. 

Now sure, in an ideal world no dog would ever be left in a car unattended.  But even the best laid plans can fail, and a bout of diarrhea on the way home from a 45minute trip can require an emergency bathroom break.  And a 5minute sit in the car unattended is nothing compared to the benefits of being able to spend the rest of their day with their human in the minds of many dogs (and owners).  Have you ever gone to a canine sporting event?  Very few facilities have the space to allow indoor crating of every single dog participating.  Heck, if it’s an outdoor event there may not be ANY indoor crating space.  And yet the number of canine deaths from heatstroke at these events is astronomically tiny (and even then, it tends to be after the event, on the way home, that it’s an issue).  

So lets stop this hysteria, all its doing is harming the dogs and the responsible owners who are caring for them!

2 Comments

  1. Comment by bogie:

    I think you have summed it up very nicely.

    • Comment by Ruth:

      Thank you.

      Its becoming a peeve. More and more incidents where some “hero” has to berete a responsible owner for “abuse” because they left the dog in the car for a few minutes, and although in some cases it was quite a bit longer than a few minutes is was clear from the video that the dogs weren’t in distress. And of course these are making the rounds of social media……and so the masses are flipping out about dogs in cars…..