Check out our common-sense cautions to help keep your pets safe in and around vehicles.

Don't Leave Me This Way!

Number-one rule of automobile safety for pets: NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET ALONE IN A PARKED CAR! Overheating can kill an animal.

It only takes ten minutes on an 85-degree day for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees Fahrenheit, even if the windows have been left open an inch or two. Within 30 minutes, the interior can reach 120 degrees – and even when the temperature is a pleasant 70 degrees, the inside of your car may be as much as 20 degrees hotter than the air outside. Parking in the shade offers little protection, as the sun is constantly shifting throughout the day. Pets who are young, elderly, or obese are particularly at risk of overheating (hyperthermia), as are those with thick or dark-colored coats, and breeds with short muzzles.

This same precaution carries over to the winter months, too. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing an animal to freeze to death.

Car Travel Tips

Whether you're going around the block or across the country, the ASPCA recommends that you keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. Make sure it's large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. You'll also want to keep in mind:

  • Don't allow your pet to ride with his head outside the window. This can subject him to inner ear damage and lung infections, and he could be injured by flying objects.

  • Don't feed your furry friend in a moving vehicle – even if it's a long drive.

  • Carry a gallon thermos of cold water, or bring along a two-liter plastic bottle of water that you've frozen the night before.

© 2006 ASPCA®