How often does it happen that we quickly jump into the supermarket and want to do a few grocery shopping? If we are accompanied by our dog in the car, there are a few things to consider.
Not every dog likes waiting in the car. some of them turn into a watchdog and defend the car. The other hops over seats like an excited kangaroo.
Depending on the environment, the dog in the car is confronted with a wide variety of noises, strangers, distractions that he does not have at home or that he is not used to. This makes waiting in the car difficult for some dogs.
Sunlight as a Source of Danger for Dogs In the Car
It is a matter of hot weather, whether the dog stays in the car. Bright sunshine can heat up the car extremely quickly, not just in midsummer.
Just Imagine going into a hot sauna room with a thick coat on. Probably after a very short time, you would start sweating profusely and develop circulatory problems. That is why people only go to the sauna without clothes on. Still, not all of us can cope with this heat in the sauna room.
This is exactly how your dog feels in the car when it’s hot. After just ten minutes in the sun, the temperature inside the parked vehicle can rise by seven degrees, and within an hour by as many as 26 degrees. The temperatures of up to 80 degrees inside a car are possible in summer! Leaving the dog in the car in the heat is, therefore, life-threatening for him – not after hours, but after minutes.
Our canine friends only sweat through their paws and tongues by panting. To cool down, they pant heavily and consume a lot of liquid. If the outside temperature is too high and your dog cannot drink anything, there is a risk of circulatory collapse or heat stroke. Immediate measures are required because it can be fatal in the worst-case scenario.
If your dog has to stay in the car when it is hot or warm, the following tips apply:
- Never leave your dog in direct sunlight inside a parked car, not even for a short time!
- Make sure your car and dog have adequate shade.
- Leave the window ajar to let fresh, cool air into the car.
- Prepare some water in the car for your dog to drink.
This Is How You Can Protect Your Dog from the Heat
If your dog has to ride in the car despite the high temperatures, you can take the following measures to make the environment a little more pleasant:
- Put some protection like curtains on the windows to keep the sun from shining directly on their fur.
- Turn on the air conditioning while driving. Otherwise, make sure there is enough fresh air through an open window.
- Use a harness, carrier, or crate to keep your dog secured and safe in a moving car. Unrestrained dogs with the window open are at risk of falling out if there’s a collision or abrupt turn, and they may even decide to jump out if something captures their attention.
- Moisten your dog’s legs and stomach and/or cover them with a wet towel.
- Use a cooling mat that is filled with a cooling gel. This will help your dog to cope better with the warm temperatures.
Rescuing a Dog from a Car in the Heat
Despite clear warnings, it, unfortunately, happens again and again that dogs are left alone in the car when it is very hot and are at risk of dying from overheating. What should be paid attention to if you encounter such an emergency? Can you save the dog from the car?
It’s not that simple, because breaking a car window can be viewed as damage to property.
Here’s what you can do when a dog is left alone in a hot car:
- Contact the car owner immediately. Note down the car’s make, and license plate number and ask something inside the building to find the owner. Sometimes the own will leave his phone number in a parked vehicle. Make a phone call in no time.
- If the owner of the car cannot be found, call the police or fire department immediately. In the meantime, try to shade the car against the sun.
- Is the dog feeling very bad and you can no longer wait for the fire department? Then there is an emergency that justifies your action. Physical signs in dogs are, for example, heavy panting, apathetic or very restless behavior, or a glassy look.
Important: If you open the car yourself, you should do as little damage as possible.
- If you have a cell phone with you, document the situation with photos or a video.
Note: These are our personal recommendations, but of course we are not lawyers. You can read more about animal laws based on your country.
How to Protect Your Dog From the Cold In the Car
Not only the heat but also the freezing cold can be dangerous for your dog. In a parked car that is not heated, it can quickly turn your vehicle into a refrigerator. You probably know from your own experience how uncomfortable it feels to be cold. You will move to warm up, but your dog has little space in the car to do so.
It depends on how sufficiently you protect your dog from the cold. After all, you probably don’t want him to get hypothermic or sick.
Of course, a husky copes better with the cold than a short-skinned greyhound. Size and age also play a role in how well your dog can tolerate low temperatures. Small dogs cool down faster than big ones. Young, old, and sick dogs need special care.
To protect your dog in a freezing car, you can use a thermal blanket. Another option is a functional dog winter coat, which must, however, fit your dog well. You may also be able to turn on the heater in your car to provide enough heat.
Some business offer temperature-controlled dog kennels, allowing you to keep your dog in the locked kennel while you are shopping. Some businesses allow dogs inside if they are put on a leash. However, the best option is to leave your dog at home on cold or hot days, especially you stop at places where your dog are not allowed.
How do I Train My Dog to Stay Alone In The Car?
It is good if your dog can relax in the car and not constantly jumping back and forth excitedly. That is why he should have a permanent place where he is protected and feels comfortable. This can be, for example, a dog box in the trunk or the trunk itself.
A dog box or dog crate offers several advantages:
- Your dog is also well secured while driving.
- You can shield it from optical stimuli by hanging a blanket over the dog crate or by using a closed box.
Give your dog something to chew or lick. Some dogs also like to cuddle with a plush toy or worn clothing that smells like you. You can give him anything that makes him feel good and is harmless.
If your dog is new to waiting in the car, then take small steps:
- Put him in his box and give him something to do with.
- Close the door, wait a moment, and then open it again.
- Gradually increase the waiting time so your dog can get used to it.
- Practice staying alone in the car in different places with different distractions. Start in a quiet environment.
If your dog keeps yapping at people walking past the car, you can significantly reduce its stress by using a privacy screen. If he barks because he cannot stay alone, you should practice it with him first.
How long Can I Leave My Dog In The Car?
There are no specific rules about how long your dog can stay in the car. What matters here is your common sense.
Does your dog sit in a cramped crate all the time, or does he have enough room to stand and turn? Does he have the opportunity to drink? What are the outside temperatures? These are all factors that you need to consider when it comes to the question of duration. Always ask yourself how you would feel if you were your dog.
I don’t think leaving your fluffy pup alone in the car for several hours is a good idea. If this is the case, for example because you have to work, you should rather look for a dog sitter.
While cars are part of everyday life for us, dogs have to get to know them first. There are many dogs who feel very comfortable in the car and like to wait in it. Others, however, do not enjoy resting in the car or suffer from separation anxiety. Ultimately, the car remains a means of transport and should not be used as long-term accommodation.