Is it Legal to Leave Dogs in a Car?

Leaving dogs in a confined car for more than 5 minutes can be fatal. You might have seen dogs traveling in cars on highways, in movies, and even in photographs.

These actions look cool on screen or might give you some major travel goals with your pet. Dogs accompany their owners to the nearest grocery, beaches, and even short trips.

However, people often leave their pets alone in their parking spaces and take too long to return.

So, is it legal to leave a dog in a car? How can you ensure their safety under urgent circumstances? Let’s find out.

Is it Legal to Leave Dogs in a Car?

With animal abuse and animal cruelty becoming a blooming topic in today’s world, every action causing harm to animals is noticed by the state. Several laws are passed for the safety and security of animals.

Leaving animals in cars alone risks their health and well-being. In the majority of states in the USA, it’s illegal to leave your pets in confined, unattended vehicles.

Image of Cute dog sit in the car on the front seat

A person can be charged if he/she leaves his/her pet in a parking space unattended. Any person can take action to rescue the animal in case of threat is noticed under any difficult circumstances.

One can break through the car’s window in case of an emergency to save the animal, but it’s always safer to call 911 first.

Signs of Danger and Urgency:

If the dog seems unresponsive or fainting.

If the dog is in a panic, scratch the windows of the car.

If the dog is panting or seems mentally disoriented.

Learn more about legal provisions.

Is It Safe to Leave Your Dogs in the Car?

The answer is a clear “NO.” Cars are mostly designed for the luxury of humans. They are not specifically designed for animals, and hence safety is at risk.

Cars are designed with metal and glasses that are well equipped for heat absorption. Although the weather might seem cool no sooner, there are chances that your car starts heating up.

If you leave your dog unattended in the car, there are high chances of heatstroke, dehydration, and brain damage. Just a few minutes can sometimes result in the worst outcome.

Pro Tip: In case of an emergency, you can follow the steps below to ensure your pet’s safety. However, you have to be back asap and remember it is most likely illegal in your state.

How to Ensure Your Dog’s Safety in a Car?

  • Parking in a shady spot

You can always choose to park your vehicle in a shady spot to prevent it from heating up. Cars, when parked in an open space, especially during summer, have a high chance of heating up early.

Image of Cute Dog inside the car

Hence, parking in a shady space reduces the chances of early heating and is relatively safer.

  • Open the ventilator

Keep the ventilator open so that there’s a constant flow of air in and out of the vehicle. It keeps the temperature inside the vehicle regulated, reducing the risk for the animals inside.

Always keep the car well-ventilated.

  • Always keep Water Available

Keep water available anytime inside the car for your pet. This prevents your pet from dehydration.

  • Teach your dog how to exit

It’s also important to teach dogs how to exit a car. Train them on how to wait and exit. Sometimes there’s the risk of dogs jumping from an open window and getting hit.

Hence while ensuring one part of safety, the other might be at risk. It’s equally important to ensure every possible risk factor.

  • Keep someone inside the car

It’s important that your pet is observed even during your absence. You can always leave someone with your pet inside the car for emergency rescue and help whenever needed. This reduces all the possible risk factors.
Pro Tip: These are merely some safety protocols. Leaving dogs inside the car, even with the protocols, is not recommended. It is illegal in most states.

Why do people leave dogs in the cars?

  • They assume it’s safe

Many people leave their dogs in the car, thinking cars are safe for pets. Dogs love to travel with their owners wherever they go.

But the actual problem begins when the owners leave their dogs inside the car and get involved in chitchat with their friends or take too much time in the grocery. They assume that the dogs are safe inside the car.

Image of Dog in the Car

However, that’s not the case. The temperature inside the car raises at the rate of 20 degrees Fahrenheit within 10 minutes. This makes it difficult for them to regulate their body temperature resulting in brain damage, heart stroke, and dehydration.

  • They depend on the air conditioner

Usually, people tend to turn on the air conditioner and ensure the temperature doesn’t rise up. But generally, pets seem to panic in the absence of the owner inside a confined space, causing them to press buttons inside the cars recklessly.

Now, the idea backfires as dogs are unaware of the buttons being pressed, and at times, the hot air from AC turns on, which relatively increases the temperature inside the car leading to danger.

  • Water for dehydration

Leaving water inside the car helps prevent a dog from dehydration. But it has little to contribute when it comes to heat stroke, and brain damage as the temperature starts boiling up inside the car.


All dogs are susceptible to heat stroke despite the temperature outside the car. Hundreds of pets die of heatstroke every single year, and the count will continue to increase if we fail to raise awareness at a mass level.

It’s important to make the owners aware of the risk involved. As humans, it is our moral responsibility and duty to make sure the animals with us are comfortable and safe.

We need to ensure that they are in a safe space with or without us being around. We cannot leave them in a life-threatening situation under any condition.

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