Leaving Your Dog in the Car This Summer 

leaving dog in carWe know you love to take your four legged furry friend out with you. Most of us have dogs that beg to go for a ride on a regular basis, but this may not always be the best thing to do if you have stops to make at places where your dog can’t go inside with you.

A new Washington law went into effect July 24, 2015 that allows police officers to break into vehicles to rescue pets – here’s what you must know.

The law limits or eliminates liability for vehicle damage that law enforcement causes when rescuing a pet from a car due to extreme heat, extreme cold, lack of ventilation or lack of water.

In addition to dealing with the damage to your car, you could face a $125 fine. As temperatures rise going into August, it’s particularly important that you don’t leave your dog in your car unattended.

Don’t do a DIY rescue – call the police

If you see a dog shut up in a car on a hot day, call 911 rather than trying to get into the car yourself. While police and law enforcement are protected from civil liability under the new law, civilians are not. If you break into a car to save a dog, you could face legal or financial penalties for the damage to the vehicle. Plus a dog in a vehicle may not react well to the intrusion and you could be injured.

Temperatures rise fast in cars – even on overcast days

Hundreds of pets die each year from being left in closed cars on hot days. And even an overcast or mild day can injure your animal if there is not enough ventilation or they don’t have water available. After 10 minutes, the internal temperature of your car can rise by 20º F and increases exponentially from there. Even on a mild day, that’s far too hot for your dog!

In the chart below, the temperature shown in bold is the outside temperature and the temperatures below it are an estimate of how much the temps will rise in a closed car as time elapses.

(Data from the American Veterinary Medical Association)

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

According to experts, your dog should not be left in a car on a day hotter than 60º or colder than 32º F. Pet adoption experts recommend you always park in the shade, roll down at least two windows halfway, and leave both food and water available to your dog. Try not to leave your dog for longer than five to 10 minutes. On colder days, be sure to also bring a warm blanket for your dog to nest in if they get chilly.

Ideally, it’s best to take your dog out with you only when you head to pet-friendly establishments or out for a nice drive. Let them enjoy their head out the window for fun then drop them back home safe while you run errands. With this new law in force, expect Seattle area police to crack down and also for concerned citizens call in more dog left in car reports. Keep your dog safe this summer!

We know you love your Subaru and your dog. At Suburb Service, we love them too. Come see the experts at Suburb Service for repair, maintenance, or factory scheduled maintenance. We are Seattle’s leading independent Subaru auto repair mechanic and have been devoted to Subarus for more than 20 years. Call us in Seattle at (206) 364-8089 or in Marysville at (360) 659-6208.

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