Whether going out shopping or planning to camp at a nearby location, you don’t want to leave your dog alone. But, the problem also arises when you take it to public places because all of them aren’t dog-friendly. In this case, leaving the dog in the car is most often the only option left for owners.
So, is it safe for a dog to stay/sleep in a car? It isn’t safe for dogs to stay in the car alone or sleep overnight, even if you’ve rolled down the windows and parked the car in the shade. It is illegal in some states and prohibited in all states. It’s best not to leave your dog in the car for more than 5 minutes. When left unattended, the dog can suffer from anxiety, and the temperature fluctuations can drastically affect its health.
Let’s dive deeper into this topic and see what you can do if you do need to leave your dog in the car for a short period of time.
Is It Safe For A Dog To Sleep In A Car?
Making the dog sleep in the car alone at night is forbidden in many states. So, we can say that it isn’t safe for a dog to sleep in a car. However, several factors come into consideration at this point. Although sleeping in the car is unsafe, you can make it safe by doing things right.
For example, if you’re going on a road trip with your dog and want it to sleep for some time, it is safe in this case. You are providing it with all the necessities and are present with your dog during the time.
But, some people might leave their dog alone at night without considering its basic needs like food and water and the temperature of the car. This behavior is definitely rude and illegal and may risk the life of your furry friend.
How Long Can You Leave A Dog In The Car?
If you want to leave your dog in the car, make sure the time doesn’t exceed 5 to 10 minutes, whether it’s hot or cold outside. Also, providing it with water and ensuring ventilation is necessary.
Being temperature conductors, cars can get too hot or too cold in a matter of minutes. When these temperatures are unbearable for us, how can our dogs tolerate them?
So, the idea of leaving your dog in the car for many hours or overnight is not good!
When the outside temperature rises, the car will also get hot, and your dog will be locked up inside with no option to escape. Such cases can take the life of your beloved pet.
How Hot Is Too Hot For A Dog To Stay In A Car?
The temperature exceeding 60 degrees is too hot for dogs in a car. If you leave your dog alone in the car at this hot temperature, it won’t be able to tolerate it for more than 10 minutes. People generally consider that dogs should not be left in the car for more than 5 minutes when the temperature outside is above 70 degrees.
Also, dogs can die in hot cars if left unattended for more than ten minutes. While many people might not know, cars can get hot quickly from the inside, and the temperature will take a lot of time to cool down.
In such cases, parking the car in the shade and rolling down the windows cannot be of any good. Even if it’s an emergency, you need to follow the necessary guidelines to keep your dog safe in these few minutes.
How Cold Is Too Cold For A Dog To Stay In A Car?
Temperature below the freezing point (32 degrees) can become intolerable for dogs in the car. Many people leave their dogs in the car in winter, thinking that they will stay warm. But, cars become cold quickly, just like they can become microwave ovens in the summer.
So, cold temperatures inside the car can cause hypothermia in dogs. Due to the decreased heart rate, the dog might die! Even if your dog is inside the car in winter, it can get frostbite. It is difficult to diagnose and may cause severe issues for the dog’s health.
The degree of tolerating cold temperatures also depends on the breed, coat, and size of the dog. Larger dogs with thick coats are adapted to live in cold temperatures.
But, temperatures below 45 degrees can become too cold for small dogs with thin fur. So, a better idea is to determine your dog’s temperature tolerance capability according to its size and thickness of fur.
Tips On Keeping A Dog Comfortable And Safe While Left In The Car
Here are a few tips for keeping your dog comfortable when alone in the car.
- Leave a note
Several states allow outsiders to break the car windows and rescue the dog if they see the owner isn’t coming to check the dog. People prying into the window can also disturb your dog.
So, the best idea is to leave a note with your phone number, telling the people that you will be right back. Then, you can attach it to the inside of the window.
- Provide water and leave the AC on
In hot summers, you should leave the car AC on and lock the steering wheel to keep your dog cool. Also, providing some cold water is the best way to combat dehydration.
- Provide a doggie jacket and blanket
If you’re leaving your dog in the car in winter, make sure it is properly covered. You can also turn the car heater on and make it wear a jacket. To make it blend into its own body heat, a warm blanket is the best option.
What States Is It Illegal To Leave A Dog In A Car?
Although all the states have laws to protect the animals from cruelty, about 3 states declare it illegal to leave the dog in the car in extreme weather and without adequate measures.
These states are:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
All other states prohibit leaving dogs in the car alone. Although it isn’t illegal in these states, you can still receive a heavy fine for such an act! Also, some of them allow the outsiders to break the window and rescue the dog.
Can I Leave My Dog In The Car With The Windows Down?
You cannot leave your dog alone in the car, even if the windows are down. Although it may seem like the best option to ensure ventilation, it’s not.
The scorching heat of the sun can make the dog dehydrate and exhaust, making it nearly die from a stroke. Also, the dogs can hop out of the window when fully rolled down. The people passing by will also have access to your car, and they may steal your possessions.
In some states, it is also declared illegal.
Can Dogs Sleep In A Car Overnight?
No. You should never let your dog sleep in the car overnight. But, if you take appropriate measures and make it comfortable, it might be a good option.
For this, you can sleep with your dog to make it feel secure. Also, keeping it warm in the winter and cool in the summer, along with proper ventilation and access to food and water, is necessary.
If your dog feels unsafe in the car or the temperature becomes extreme, it is better not to make it sleep in the car overnight.
Can I Leave My Dog In The Car If It’s Not Hot?
Leaving your dog unattended in the car even if it’s not hot isn’t the best option. If you do so, make sure to check on your dog every 10-15 minutes. If the temperature is moderate, the dog may suffer from anxiety when left alone.
Also, the weather can change, and the inside of the car may become hot in 10 minutes. So, it’s not a good idea to leave the dog in the car for a long time.
Can You Leave The Dog In The Car With AC On?
Yes, you can leave the dog in the car when the AC is on, but it should not exceed more than a few minutes.
The AC is the best option to keep the dog cool on hot summer days. Also, make sure to keep checking on your dog.
If you plan to leave the dog in the car with the AC on for about an hour, it is not a good idea! The car’s engine may malfunction, and the dog will feel insecure when left alone for such a long time.
Although all states declare that leaving the dogs in the car for a long time is prohibited, some consider it illegal and have strict laws regarding this act.
So, whether you cannot leave the dog in the car or not depends on the state.
However, we recommend never leaving the dog alone in the car. If you have no other option, make sure you leave it no more than a few minutes, and keep checking on your pet in between.
Also, taking adequate measures to keep the dog cool in the summer and warm in winter is necessary.
My name is Katie, and I have had different pets at home for as long as I can remember. While I can definitely say I love all animals in general, my heart belongs to cats and dogs. I know you are supposed to choose one or the other, but I could never really decide. I’ve also owned hamsters and fish when I was a kid, and they filled my childhood with very delightful memories.