When is it safe—and legal—to leave your dog in the car?

Our beloved pups make the best travel buddies, don’t they? However, when you need to grab something from a store, the question arises: Is it safe to leave the doggo in the car? Way.com takes a closer look at how dog owners can make sure they’re keeping their furry friends safe while also making sure it’s legal.

Is it ever okay to leave your dog in the car? 

Facing this dilemma is quite common for dog owners. Many of us have pondered what to do with our furry friends during errands or appointments that don’t permit pets. It may seem convenient to simply leave your dog in the car for a short period but, it’s important to understand the dangers involved and the alternatives available.

The legality of leaving your dog in a car varies depending on the specific laws of your location. In the United States, for instance, 31 states have laws that either prohibit leaving an animal in a confined vehicle under hazardous conditions or offer civil immunity (protection from being sued) to individuals who rescue a distressed animal from a vehicle. 

In many jurisdictions, the laws typically stipulate that the animal must be confined or left unattended in a parked or stationary vehicle for a person to be in violation. Also, the conditions inside the vehicle must pose a threat to the animal’s life for the law to apply.  

Specific factors, such as extreme hot or cold temperatures, insufficient ventilation, or a lack of proper food and drink, are often cited in statutes. Meanwhile, some laws broadly define “animal,” while others may specifically mention dogs and cats. Moreover, it’s important to be familiar with the specific regulations in your area to ensure the safety of your pet. 

States where leaving your dog in the car is illegal 

States with explicit laws against leaving pets in unattended vehicles: 

  • Arizona 
  • California 
  • Colorado 
  • Illinois 
  • Indiana 
  • Maine 
  • Maryland 
  • Massachusetts 
  • Minnesota 
  • Nevada 
  • New Hampshire 
  • New Jersey 
  • New York 
  • North Carolina 
  • North Dakota 
  • Rhode Island 
  • South Dakota 
  • Vermont 
  • Washington 
  • West Virginia 

The dangers of leaving your dog in the car 

It is never safe to leave your dog alone in a car.  And there are several factors to be aware of when it comes to the safety of your pet. One of them is obviously extreme temperature. Cars act like greenhouses, trapping heat in the summer and cold in the winter. This can lead to heatstroke in hot weather and hypothermia in cold weather. Both can be deadly for your pet. 

But if the weather is pleasant, you might be asking yourself if you can just leave the dog alone with the windows cracked open? Or maybe you’re wondering if it’s safe to just park in the shade?

No matter how safe you may think it seems, it’s just not advisable. Besides, lack of fresh air, dehydration, and stress, the risk of someone taking or hurting your dog make it a bad risk to leave your dog unattended in a car.

Alternatives to leaving your dog in the car 

Rather than risk leaving your dog alone in the car, plan ahead to make sure there are safer options: 

Leave your dog at home with a pet sitter or at a kennel: If taking your dog isn’t an option, leave your pet with a trusted friend or neighbor, hire a pet sitter to come to your home or board your dog at a kennel. 

Provide a safe space at home: If you must leave your dog at home, ensure they have a secure and comfortable area, like a crate or a specific room. Equip them with water, toys, and bedding.

Dog modes in cars are cool features made to keep your furry pals safe and comfy when you have to leave them alone in the car for a bit. Meanwhile, this nifty feature helps maintain a cozy temperature inside the car. Right now, only Tesla has this feature, but other big car brands are also working on something similar. Safety first for our four-legged friends! 

Final take 

The legality of leaving your dog in the car varies by state, with 31 states having laws against it. Whether it is illegal to leave your dog behind in the car will depend upon your state law, but it’s still recommended to avoid putting your dog’s well-being at risk.






Provided by Stacker

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