Safe Temperature to Leave Dog in Car
If it’s too hot or too cold, you can absolutely not leave your dog in the car under any circumstance. In fact, if the weather is too hot or cold, it’s better to just leave the dog at home. Even if it’s just for five minutes, the heat can kill a dog or make them horribly sick, and rolling down the window is not a viable solution.
What is the Safe Temperature to Leave a Dog in the Car?
It’s perfectly fine to leave a dog in the car for a minute when the temperature isn’t too hot or too cold, though always with the window cracked for fresh air. Even on a mild day of only 21 degrees Celsius, the temperature inside a vehicle can get much higher than the air temperature outside. 21 degrees outside can equal up to 46 degrees inside, especially parked in the sun. A vehicle is a metal box that retains heat. It takes the heat from outside and makes it significantly worse.
When does a dog begin to experience heat exhaustion? It happens when a dog’s body temperature reaches 39 degrees Celsius. That means that even on a mild day, your dog could get heat exhaustion from sitting in the car for just a few minutes.
So, when is it safe to leave a dog in the car? The answer is never for longer than five minutes. Even if it’s not that hot, a dog will heat up inside a car and quickly spiral into heat exhaustion. The only time it’s appropriate to leave a dog in the car for five minutes is when the outside temperature is less than 21 degrees Celsius and above freezing.
Is It Okay to Leave a Dog in the Car with the Windows Down?
It is never OK to leave a dog in the car with the windows down when it’s too hot. Letting all that smoking hot air inside doesn’t actually cool down your car, and neither does parking in the shade. All you achieve by leaving the windows down is that your dog can die from heat exhaustion while breathing fresh air.
Window Tint to Keep the Car Cool
Window tint is known for keeping a car cool. Window tint stops thermal rays from entering the vehicle, therefore blocking heat for getting inside your car. The tint is great for keeping a car cooler, for keeping an office cooler, and for blocking out heat while letting in natural light.
However, you still can’t leave a dog in a hot car for more than five minutes, and even with window tint, it’s not going to prevent your car from getting hot when it’s over 20 degrees outside. Your car is still a metal box. If you live in a storage container with no windows, it’s still going to get unbearably hot. Yes, tint will keep your vehicle cooler, and yes, it’s better for driving around with your dog, on a hot day but it’s not a solution to letting your dog sit in a hot car for an infinite amount of time.
Can I Leave a Dog in the Car in the Winter?
The biggest risk with leaving your dog in the car in the winter is hypothermia. Just like how a car gets hotter than the outside environment in the summer, it can get colder than the outside in the winter. This is because cars have no insulation against the outside world.
Even though your dog has fur to keep it warm, it still shouldn’t be left alone in a car when it’s below freezing outside. That being said, there are dogs with very thick coats that can withstand harsher conditions, such as huskies and malamutes. But something like a Chihuahua will freeze very quickly and shouldn’t be left in a cold car ever.
A dog can begin to develop symptoms of hypothermia when its body temperature drops to 37.2 degrees Celsius. The moment you turn off the engine in your car, the cold begins to set in, especially if the outside temperature is below freezing. As such, when the temperature is below 0 degrees, don’t leave a dog in the car, not even for five minutes (unless you have a winter dog like a husky).
It is okay to leave a dog in a chilly car for five minutes. If it’s not below freezing, five minutes with the lingering heat from the heater will be perfectly fine for most dogs.
Leaving Dog in Car Law Alberta
In the province of Alberta, dogs should absolutely never be kept in a vehicle when it’s too hot or too cold. In the summer, you’re actually not allowed to leave your pet in a vehicle even just for a minute, as they can die from overheating.
There are a few other interesting laws in Alberta involving your dog being in the car. For example, the distracted driving law goes beyond cellphone usage to pets roaming free in the car. This means your dog must not interfere with your driving. Albert recommends that you keep the pet secured inside the appropriate carrier while also fixed in place on the seat with the seat belt.
Leaving Dog in Car Law Canada
In Canada, it is against the law to leave any kind of pet unattended in a parked vehicle if it could endanger their health and safety. This applies to both dogs and cats, as well as any other pet animal. It’s outlined in the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act, also known as PAWS.
What this law means is that if there is any chance your dog could suffocate, get too hot, or get too cold, it is illegal to leave them alone in the vehicle. You must leave them inside with someone else with the engine running. Either that, or you must leave them at home or bring them inside with you.