What to do if you find a dog locked in a car during the hot summer

Summer is the season of the sun, the beach, having fun with our family, friends, and pets. It's a great season. Unfortunately, summer is not the favorite season for many dogs, and with good reason. Lack of knowledge about the needs of our pets, their health, and sometimes the lack of consideration of some masters have turned summer into an ordeal for their dogs.

One scenario that has become common is to find a dog locked inside a car on a hot summer's day. Phrases like, "I'll be back in a moment" or "it's just five minutes," can be the trigger for a disaster to happen.

Our dogs are loyal friends, who wish to give us their infinite love; but thanks to carelessness, lack of conscience and consideration from many masters, plenty of these adorable friends have come to lose their lives.

What can you do in these cases, who can you ask for help, how to locate the owner? Many questions arise at the time. Here at Pet Comments, we will give you answers to these questions.


Why does heat affect dogs so much?

We must always bear in mind that dogs handle their body temperature very differently from how we do with ours. They can't sweat through their skin as people do. Dogs regulate their body temperature through their mouths, breathing and panting; therefore, it is very difficult for them to be locked up in a car and not suffer a heatstroke. Besides, cars and other vehicles on summer days rise in temperature quickly, because the warmer it is outside of the car, the more the heat will accumulate inside it.

However, a large part of society has shown a contentious attitude against this kind of carelessness, hence campaigns have been made to raise awareness. To the point where some countries consider it an illegal act to leave your dog forgotten in the car, either with extreme heat, cold or lack of ventilation. All this is for protecting animals.

Although, despite the measures that have been taken in this regard, it is still very common to find ourselves in this kind of situation. So, what can you do if you find a dog locked in a car? How can you relieve the animal? We'll give you a few steps you can take to help any pet that is in danger.

What can you do about it?

Assess the situation

First of all, you have to evaluate the situation; determine the state of the canine. If it is panting constantly and desperately or in a lethargic state, the dog is suffering from heatstroke. It may also be dizzy, not respond to your calls, not walk or lose its balance. Vomiting and diarrhea are other signs and sometimes it will collapse or lose consciousness. Performing this simple survey will allow you to calculate at what level of danger the dog is.

Collect information

The second thing is to collect information. Reviewing the car and taking its data or finding any kind of information that allows us to identify the owner is extremely important. Note that you must do this procedure in complete calmness, since it will not help the animal at all to see us desperate. License plate, brand, car model and exact location are the relevant data for this occasion.


Locate the owner of the car

Depending on where the canine is and after having the correct data, you should go to the establishments in the area and talk to the required staff, or to the house where the car is parked. If you are in a shopping center, quickly go to the help center where you can announce on the loudspeaker the data you have collected and locate the owner.

Call the authorities

If you can't locate the owner, or if it's a real odyssey to find him, it's best to call animal control or government authorities as well as a veterinarian. They are the ones who are prepared to deal with this situation. It is important to remember that this is a punishable action. The responsible person (depending on the case) must pay a fine or if the culprit is a repeat offender of animal mistreatment, he could go to jail.

Try to lower the dog's temperature from the outside

While you wait for help or the owner to arrive, provide practical help. You can do this by sprinkling water on the windows and covering them with cardboard. Also, look for or buy four or five liters of water so that you can pour it on the dog when it is taken out of the car. That way you will be able to hydrate it. Do not hit the windows or shout amid despair as this can aggravate the situation, you can make the dog nervous.

Stay with the dog

Finally, stay with the dog until it is safe and help those who carried out the rescue. When taking the dog out of the car, take the dog to a shady place, not to an air-conditioned place. By all means, avoid sudden changes in temperature as it could cause a shock in the animal. Give it water, but little by little, it is not good for the dog to drink all the water at once. If he is in a semi-conscious state, put water in his mouth with a damp cloth. Once you have done these steps and if you do not find a veterinarian present, take him urgently to one, once he is wrapped in wet rags, preferably.


In such situations, it is possible to lose your cool to the carelessness of the owners. But you should never try to break a window to free the animal. This does more harm than good; the dog is incredibly stressed and the glass fragments from the window can hurt him. Added to this, it is very difficult to break a car’s glass and undoubtedly breaking it will bring legal consequences.


Always strive to stay focused and do what is best for the dog, so you must think from their perspective. It is frightening for them and they are unable to understand what is going on. If you get to know the owners, strive to show them the error of their actions by patiently educating them and reminding them that we can all make mistakes. But the most important thing is to learn from them, for the lives of our beloved friends, our pets, are at risk.


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