Here’s What to Do if You See a Dog in a Hot Car

Parked cars are death traps for dogs: On a 70-degree day, the temperature inside one can soar to 99 degrees in 20 minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 109 degrees in just 10 minutes. Every year, dogs suffer and die when their guardians make the mistake of leaving them in a parked car—even for “just a minute”—while they run an errand. If you need to know how to rescue a dog in a hot car, the information on this page could save a life.

If you see a dog trapped in a hot car, here’s what to do.

1. Gather info

Note the car’s color, make, and model, and write down the license plate number or take a picture of it.

dogs in hot cars picture

2. Notify Others

If there’s time, go into the nearest building and find a manager. Remember: It only takes minutes for a dog to suffer brain damage when the weather is hot. Time is of the essence!

Politely ask the manager to page the owner of the car. BE PERSISTENT!

3. Monitor the dog

Go back outside and wait by the car. (Don’t leave until the dog is safe!)

4. Educate

When the owner appears, share some facts, and don’t forget to carry PETA literature.

What to Do When You See a Dog In a Hot Car

5. Call for help

If the owner doesn’t show up or doesn’t do anything, call animal control. If animal control can’t come immediately, call 911. And remember, if all else fails, do what’s necessary to save the animal’s life.

Be Prepared: Buy a Hot Car Emergency Rescue Hammer


If you think leaving a dog in a hot car is just plain ridiculous, share this important video on Facebook now!

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind