Pet Safety Tips

Protect Your Pet Against the Dangers of Hot Cars

Dog in car

The inside of a car can heat up to 110° F in 10 minutes on an 80° F day - even with the windows slightly open. Your pet will suffer needlessly and could die when left in your car even on a moderately hot day. Your pet would be safer at home.

And consider this: causing an animal to be subjected to unnecessary cruelty or suffering is a felony in Massachusetts and is punishable by imprisonment for up to 5 years and a fine of $2,500.

Download a hot car flyer to warn people of this hazard.

Heat Stress

Symptoms

  • Danger signals to watch for in a dog or cat:
    1. heavy panting
    2. rapid breathing
    3. staggering
    4. weakness
  • When breathing suddenly becomes quiet with any of these symptoms, the animal may collapse.
  • An animal affected by heat-stroke can die in minutes, but proper care may save its life.

Treatment

  • Safely and immediately remove the animal from its hot environment, to a safe shaded area if possible.
  • Slowly cool the animal by placing it in cool, not cold, water. Reduce body heat gradually.
  • If possible, the wind or a fan breeze directed to wet areas of the animal's body will help with cooling.
  • Take the distressed pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Treatment for dehydration and other serious problems will be necessary.

Intervention

If you see an animal locked in a car on a hot day:

  • Locate the owner as quickly as possible. If the car is parked at a store, ask a store employee to page the owner.
  • If the owner cannot be found quickly, call the police to free the animal from the car. Take first-aid measures noted above.

For more information, call 617-522-6008 or 800-628-5808.