Subaru News (BLOG)

Welcome to Subaru News, Suburb Service’s monthly blog! Subaru News is meant to educate, entertain, and engage you in monthly musings on such topics as auto mechanics, Subarus, travel, auto repair, and driving and living in the Lake Forest Park and Shoreline area. Our blogs are released on the first day of each month!

Can Dogs Be Left In Cars?

You may have noticed that there are a lot of pets in the Pacific Northwest. It's not rare for pets and owners out and about together, especially in Washington during Spring and Summer with all it's beautiful terrain to explore. It's also not a surprise that many Subaru owners love including their dogs in their adventures.

But what happens if you make a pit stop on the way to your destination for a meal or some supplies - do you leave your dog in the car? Or, maybe you simply want to run some errands but bring your pal along with you for the ride, so you leave him in the car while you run in and out of stores.

You're plan is to run inside, quickly grab what you need, and be back out within 10-15 minutes. But then you hit a long line, run into an old friend, or get sidetracked shopping for things you didn't know you needed. He'll be okay for a little longer, especially since you cracked the windows, right? Wrong.

Can dogs be left in cars on a warm day?

Dogs can suffer from heat stroke, brain damage, or even die, in as little as 15 minutes in a hot car. Even on a 78 degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar above 100 degrees in only minutes. On a 90 degree day, the temperature rises well above 109 degrees in less than 10 minutes.

Even worse, dogs are unable to sweat and rely mainly on their respiratory system to release heat. Dogs with larger snouts (Labs, German Shepherds) have a little easier time cooling off, then the ones with flat noses, such as Pugs or Bulldogs. Then there's the obvious fact of being covered in fur, which insulates the heat into their bodies even more.

The average normal core body temperature for a dog is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees. If their body temperature rises only a few degrees, reaching 106+, they are at serious risk for heatstroke or even death.

With this information, you can see that leaving your dog in the car, even for a short time, is a big no-no. The outcome is absolutely not worth the risk, even if you think you'll only be 5 minutes.

But what do you do if you see someone else leave their canine in their vehicle?

Maybe you're walking to or from a store, and notice a dog panting inside a car window - is this your business? Yes! One of the simplest things you can do is write down the make and model of the car, color, and license plate, and bring this info to the closest business or store nearby.

Ask that they make an announcement over the loudspeaker, so that the owner can come rescue their pup. Stay with the vehicle until the owner comes. If no one comes, call the non-emergency number of the local police or animal control and wait by the car for them to arrive.

Keep an eye on the dog, and look for signs of heatstroke such as:

  • Heavy panting
  • Restlessness
  • Thick saliva
  • Dark tongue
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of coordination
  • Bloody diarrhea

Saving a dogs life may be as simple as getting involved by finding the owner or making that phone call to the authorities. You won't get anyone in trouble, you're simply helping to inform the owner of a possible bad situation they may not have been aware of when they left their dog in the vehicle.

Set a good example when driving your canine friend in your Subaru around Seattle and other parts of Washington. Take your pet out of your vehicle, have them on a leash with a bowl of water, or make sure to plan ahead of time with where you are going so that you don't need to make pit stops at all (especially if it's just you and your dog).

As always, make sure your Subaru is up to snuff for your adventures so you can fully enjoy your time together. Click here to schedule an appointment at Suburb Service, or call (206) 705-8695 to reach our Seattle location. Show your Subaru some love.