Whole Dog Journal's Blog January 25, 2017

Would You Leave Your Dog In the Car?

Posted at 02:54PM - Comments: (155)

When is it okay to leave your dog in the car? Some dog guardians would say never, as WDJ editor Nancy Kerns discovered.

leaving a dog in the car

Are you comfortable leaving a dog in your car - weather permitting?

Yesterday, I met a friend in a town about halfway between her house and my house, which are about three hours apart. We both had things to do/people to visit in that midway city, and then she – and her darling, 30-pound moppish-mixed breed dog – were going to follow me home and spend a few days visiting. We met outside a Whole Foods store/restaurant, and I proposed we go in and eat lunch before driving the rest of the way to my house. My friend said, “Can we take turns going in and selecting our food? I don’t leave my dog in the car.”

My mind boggled. If it was hot (or even warm) or freezing out, I would immediately understand, but it was about 50 degrees – a pretty much perfect dog-in-the-car temperature, in my view. So I had to ask, what’s up with that? I had a foster dog chew through the front seatbelts in my car once; was it about separation anxiety, or something?

My friend’s answer had more to do with concerns about the behavior of others in the San Francisco Bay area. People have become so incredibly sensitized about seeing a dog in a car, she said, that even if the temperature is no threat whatsoever (like right now in northern California), you just can’t predict the behavior of people who might be concerned about your dog! And, actually, once she mentioned this, I remembered hearing a horror story from another trainer friend about a dog being stolen out of a car, with a note left behind indicating that the person didn’t deserve to have a dog if they were going to leave it in the car!

My friend also said, “People are just so bizarre. You also hear about dogs being teased and worked up into a frenzy. I just don’t want to leave my dog in such a vulnerable place, even just for a few minutes.”

So, I get it – even if I can’t imagine being unable to run into a place to pick up take-out food, or some other quick errand. When the weather does not permit, the dogs stay home – that's all there is to that. But at this time of year, if I’m running errands, I often take my adolescent dog, Woody, into the types of places where dogs are welcome: Home Depot, Tractor Supply, and so on. It’s a great opportunity to continue his good manners training. If I have to run into Staples, or want to join someone for lunch, he stays in the car, no problem. But in my small, rural town, neither the issue of self-appointed dog police or people who tease dogs in a car have appeared to be a problem.

As it was, my friend and I were together, so we took turns going in and ordering our burritos, and then we ate outdoors, with the little mop-dog cleaning up our last bites.

How do you feel about leaving your dog in the car, weather permitting, of course? Do you actively avoid it? If so, what are your reasons?

Comments (155)

I live in a small mountain town that is far away from everywhere. After a hike or ski they frequently stay in the car while I do errands or stop for a coffee. The windows are always open and they have water available. They also go with me if I travel to one of the cities that are a couple of hours away since my travel often involves activities for them. I find it outrageous that some people feel they have the right to vandalize my vehicle to "break out" dogs that are perfectly fine and comfortable where they are. A little common sense people!

Posted by: LH | February 6, 2017 12:34 PM    Report this comment

I will not leave a dog in the car anywhere. Even in rural towns, people steal dogs to sell or to use in fighting rings. People tease and taunt. It's no different from leaving a child in the car. If something were to happen that prevents you from returning to the car when you had planned - an emergency or whatever- who knows.

Posted by: Fifi | February 5, 2017 8:47 PM    Report this comment

I never leave my dog in the car. She goes everywhere with me, nursery, Home Depot, coffee places, my Mom's care facility. If she can't come in she stays home inside. I don't even leave her in backyard by herself. People steal dogs from cars, yards and even dog parks. I never left my children unattended and I certainly won't leave my dog either.

Posted by: NorCal47Liz | February 5, 2017 7:23 PM    Report this comment

No way, would I ever leave a dog in the car, they are vulnerable to anything a small child would be vulnerable to. Strangers, dog nappers, inclement heat or cold and they would always be anxiously awaiting their people to return.
It's totally irresponsible.

Posted by: ruby richards | February 5, 2017 2:28 PM    Report this comment

People do steal dogs from cars for various reasons. If I leave my dog in the car weather permitting I put him in a locked crate that is securely attached to the car. Would tale a lot of time and effort to get the dog

Posted by: Ddogs7007 | February 5, 2017 12:25 PM    Report this comment

I have a dog training truck and I do take them with me since sometimes I need them for help with a lesson and also I travel a lot and they do come with me. The truck has solar panels on the top and fans in the back area set up for the dogs. I can leave the vents and windows open and no one can see the dogs inside (it is designed that way) - the two vents have vent fans and are run by the coach batteries which are kept charged both by the alternator and the solar panels. It's a pretty good set up and I can leave them safely in there even if it is pretty warm outside.

Posted by: mwindisch | February 5, 2017 12:04 PM    Report this comment

The state of Ohio now has a good samaritan law on the books. Should an individual see a distressed animal in a vehicle, particularly on hot/cold days, windows up, etc, that individual can do what's necessary to break into the vehicle in order to get that animal out of such a situation. This would be only after the local authorities have been advised and, they cannot respond within a reasonable period of time.

Posted by: Houndz6 | February 4, 2017 4:51 PM    Report this comment

My 8 year old husky comes with me most everywhere. She has separation anxiety if i leave her at home. In the winter the windows are cracked, in the summer I will turn on my autostart (and only go out at night, even when traveling ) . That being said most of my trips are for her (hiking, walking, playtimes etc) I never leave her too long no matter the season. She always just curls up on the seat and is quiet and calm. She doesnt bark, howl, or hassle anything.. I live in DC suburbs and over the past 10 years i have had cops called on me 3 times. All were instances where it was for less than 20 minutes. And winter! I was screamed at and told i neededto wait for the cops to show up. I have no patience for that at all. I know how to take care of my dog. I try to keep eyes on her, and check frequently. I am constantly aware of the weather and temperature and shady spots. During the summer we usually wait til sunset to go anywhere. And its windows cracked and ac on. In the heat even with ac on in car I wont leave her in the car for longer than10 minutes. AC ALWAYS ON. Its the reason i got the auto start.
I really dont understand how people can leave the windows all the way down. I would be way too worried about my dog jumping out after something in a busy parking lot. Not to mention someone just stealing them. Besides the fact that leaving the windows down doesnt really cool a vehicle down. While i worked at home depot we would average 3-4 dogs a year jumping out of "ventilated" parked cars and running around looking for their owners. A risky move in a parking lot. I would also feel uncomfortable leaving her in a crate in car. Basically a box within a box. And ive seen some comments where people have said they are protected, even from dogsnatchers. Unsure i agree with that. Ive seen reports of dogs frequently stolen with crates.
I think this basic question of leaving your dog in a car can be answered differently by everyone. It depends on the dog. It depends on the weather and temperature. It depends on the length of time. Never have i left my dog in car to go see a movie, or go shopping for a couple hours, or anything so selfish. I wouldnt ask her to do something i wouldnt or something that make her uncomfortable. I certainly try to frequent all the places that welcome dogs. I get awfully jealous that the little dog owners can tote their dogs every and anywhere even when not allowed.
Lately around here we've had alot of dogsnatching from yards. So not always the safest to leave your dog at home either.

Posted by: TakaYRen | January 31, 2017 2:09 AM    Report this comment

Common sense rules. If there is no way the temp in the car will go over 60 degrees or so in the sun, I'll take my dogs. They love to go anywhere, anytime.

Posted by: Dsaun58043@cox.net | January 30, 2017 7:35 PM    Report this comment

I take my Dogs as many places as I can - weather permitting - as long as I am not planning on being away long. I agree there are too many misguided uneducated crazy people who think they are showing concern for a dog not realizing a dog would rather be with their loving owner then left home alone. I live in the North Bay and know exactly what some of these people are saying, I used to be a Humane Officer and there are a lot of crazies out there.

Posted by: Zips Mom | January 30, 2017 5:37 PM    Report this comment

I take my dogs with me all the time as long as the weather is permitting!

Posted by: Gldnsvr | January 30, 2017 4:11 PM    Report this comment

I often leave my dog in the car. She's attached to a seat-belt so she can't jump out and if it's just a tad warm (if it's hot, she stays at home) I leave ALL windows open which is okay for her & I'm not afraid anything happens. She's got a growl & a set of teeth to scare anyone away. I am usually in places which are very pet friendly out west when I do this & I don't expect problems. I've done this quite a few times already. I'm not worried.

Posted by: Anni | January 30, 2017 3:07 PM    Report this comment

I only leave my dogs in the car if I can see them.

Posted by: Leofox | January 30, 2017 8:35 AM    Report this comment

Jerry Lee is my service dog. He goes everywhere with me, including church, shopping... anywhere I go. My disability is episodic rather than full-time so sometimes he waits for me in the car. He's very calm in the car and just lays down and takes a nap. He doesn't respond to people walking by and he doesn't advertise his presence.

In warm weather, I leave the car running and the A/C on for him. I have a window sign that says "Dogs OK... A/C on" so people that might see him know that he's cooler in the car than they are in the car park.

Posted by: dalefuller | January 30, 2017 7:14 AM    Report this comment

I travel with 3 dogs (in crates in vehicle ) and often have 2 in crates while I work or compete with the third at events, temperature permitting. If I'm doing CGC evals I pull one out to be the "unfamiliar dog" and the others stay in van. I do try to park where I can easily see my vehicle with dogs. And have never had issues .....of course this is typically at dog specific events and as long as it is not above 65F most others there do the same thing, open windows, leave the hatch back open.

Posted by: Holly S | January 30, 2017 5:54 AM    Report this comment

I only leave my dog in the car for a minute or two and I have to see my car. Too many lunatics out there.

Posted by: Mystic118 | January 29, 2017 11:34 PM    Report this comment

on another note...i read all of these comments & one thing stood glaringly out to me: there were several people who attacked others for their "morally superior" attitude & for being an overreactive do-gooder or "helper"...as many as there were comments admonishing others to "NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG ALONE IN A CAR!" there are good arguments on both sides, & there is no clear-cut answer. i, for one, appreciated the opportunity to share my solutions to this thorny problem & definitely do not see the neccessity of the vitriol in defense of one's opinion over another's...sounds like sheer defensiveness &/or a case of "methinks they doth protest too much". let's keep an open mind & be civil folks & not assume the worst of people.

Posted by: shanakay16 | January 29, 2017 9:36 PM    Report this comment

It bothers me when I see pets left in the car ,

Posted by: Char34293 | January 29, 2017 9:32 PM    Report this comment

My solution works for me, but maybe not for everyone. I have two little mixed terrier rescue dogs that are spoiled rotten and love to go in the car. I have a Honda Odyssey and I have two doggie booster seats in the second row seats and they have never tried to chew their way out. I have had a Viper alarm system and remote start installed. Whatever the weather, when my babies are with me and I make a stop, I set the temperature appropriately for the weather, lock the car to set the alarm and activate the remote start. If anyone bumps the car, or tries to get in, it alarms and alerts me on the key fob I keep on me. An expensive solution, but worth my peace of mind.

Posted by: pat3332 | January 29, 2017 9:32 PM    Report this comment

I see a lot of people leave their pet in the car , I don't . If I do take my dogs with me I go to pet friendly establishments or I don't take them .

Posted by: Char34293 | January 29, 2017 9:31 PM    Report this comment

i have always brought my dogs w/ me; they have all loved going on road trips, regardless of the weather. that said: 1. i always have plenty of water & a bowl in the car & stop often to let them do their thing; 2. in hot weather (anything above 70degree/so), i have the fan on at its coolest setting while driving, & if i'm going to be any length of time, i leave the fan on coolest setting, leave radio on & use the remote starter (it runs for 15 min) every 20 minutes or so & leave water in her bowl; 3. in cold weather (anything below 35degreeor so), i make sure they have their winter coats on when i leave the house, & do the same w/ the fan & radio, only w/ heater on & don't start it as frequently.; 4. i always lock the car, which will only open if key is w/in 3 feet of car & won't start unless key is in passenger compartment (turning a button starts the car), so i feel fairly confident in my pets' safety; lastly, i leave a large note detailing all of this in window...(i can be anal at times like this!).

Posted by: shanakay16 | January 29, 2017 9:08 PM    Report this comment

Even though I live in one of the safest places in the country, I rarely leave my dog in the car even in appropriate weather as I fear that he will be stolen. My last dog would lie down in the backseat until I returned so she was not visible, but this one looks out the window to the door I entered until I come out of the store. So, unless given no choice, he does not stay in the vehicle alone.

Posted by: Abaco | January 29, 2017 8:28 PM    Report this comment

I have heard similar comments and think it's crazy. My dogs go everywhere with me and they LOVE to go in the car. They have about 4 inches of bedding and a heated blanket in the winter even though I don't leave them long. As my companions, they just love when they can go with me.

Posted by: Carol S | January 29, 2017 6:29 PM    Report this comment

My dog usually does not ride in the car with me unless I am taking him somewhere. Usually it's for an off leash walk so he gets pretty excited. I did once have a terrible scare. We were going for an off leash walk, and it was warm, so I left the windows down for him to get air. I don't know how he did it, but he squeezed out. It was a convenience store and I was grabbing a drink, but it was on a very busy road. No worries, the next patron after me allowed him to wiggle past them and he was coming to find me! Phew. I agree with the medium temperature thing though. And Topher DOES love a drive-through!!!!!

Posted by: Topher | January 29, 2017 6:20 PM    Report this comment

The dogs do stay in our van at times. They are a giant breed and all show dogs. If we're traveling, or at a show, our extended Econoline van is their second home. All but the two front bucket seats are removed and it's set up for them with large expened areas in the back, lots of dog beds, toys, chewies, fans, misters and water. They'd rather be in the van than in the hotel room. If it's summer we keep van time to the minimum necessary, however it has a regularly serviced AC unit with an emergency back up, the windows are tinted and the cooling sheets are kept on the van. Our cell phone numbers are taped on the exterior in case of emergency and we're rarely away. More often than not its cooler in the van than inside the show ring. When we're not actively showing we're all out in the van as it's set up for our comfort as well. When traveling back and forth to the vet's office, or on errands around town, the dogs don't go with us unless necessary. However, I will say this for folks who think they're safer at home... I've never had one of my dogs injured while traveling, in our van, or at the show. I have had them injured on our property in various ways. They're big dogs and they play rough with each other, they run full tilt all over our 1 1/2 wooded and fenced acres. I've had them get cuts, nicks and broken toes. We've had one severely broken tail that required amputation... We walked the whole property after that one and never quite figured out how she did it! We've had lots of minor injuries requiring staples or sutures. I could rap them in bubble wrap and maybe then they wouldn't be out chasing squirrels and hanging from the monkey bars, but then life for them wouldn't be half as much fun. They're environment while traveling and showing is far more controlled than their life at home, thus there is a far less risk of injury, however it isn't nearly as much fun as free ranging and running our property. They spend much more time in our home environment and there is a far greater risk for injury, anything from tripping in the afternoon in the hole they dug that morning to the house burning down.

Posted by: ierneiw | January 29, 2017 6:12 PM    Report this comment

I don't leave my dogs in the car because of the threat of theft. We've had many incidents where people's dogs have been stolen in broad daylight when someone just ran into the store for a few minutes. We used to have a big pharmaceutical facility nearby, and there were many stories of stolen dogs being sold to the pharma company for testing purposes. I couldn't live with myself if someone took my dog from my car, so they either come with me or stay at home.

Posted by: LydNJ | January 29, 2017 6:08 PM    Report this comment

I leave my Doberman in the back seat area of my full size truck all the time when I run into the store or bank and never think twice. the windows are down 1/2 way and he can see out no problem and get plenty of fresh air. People look at him all the time and I could care less what they think, he is my dog, and he loves going for rides in the truck. The first few times i did it he ran from window to side window and set off the alarm. Now he pretty much just lays there until I get back ( he is pretty smart) until we take off and he can stick his nose out the window and be in heaven once again.

Posted by: Maxovrdriv | January 29, 2017 6:03 PM    Report this comment

I've often left my dogs in the car with all windows cracked when it is coolish weather, lock it and set the alarm. I had a dog years ago that would bolt to the car if I opened the door from the house to the garage and literally ask to get in it when it was just sitting there...it would have broken her heart not to be allowed in the car ever again! I guess I never thought of a dog getting stolen, and perhaps I would not if I didn't know the neighborhood...but geesh, if we took everything away from kids and dogs that "might" hurt them, they'd have to sit in a sterile room with cushions and just stare at the walls.

Posted by: terrier mom | January 29, 2017 4:52 PM    Report this comment

To the morally superior "heroes" commenting here about how you "never know" what fate your dog will suffer when leaving them alone in a car--especially the one about a dog left in a car in 1940 when the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed--guess what? YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT FATE YOUR DOG WILL SUFFER when you leave them home, either! One of my dog training clients left her little dogs safe and secure in their crates at home and when she returned, the house had burned down. So much for being safe at home. The same lady was walking her Dachshunds around her 5 acre property in the country when a giant hawk flew down and grabbed one of her dogs in its talons, piercing his body and when the bird was high in the air, DROPPED her dog from several stories high. Everyone needs to start having a little common sense. For crying out loud.

Posted by: fastpup | January 29, 2017 3:19 PM    Report this comment

I have to admit it I won't leave my dog/dogs in the car alone. I have called the police several times when I have found dogs in cars in the summer ( NC very hot). There are just too many crazy people down here.....with guns.....they steal things out of cars all of the time.

Posted by: Olivia | January 29, 2017 2:32 PM    Report this comment

I leave both of my dogs in the car when the temperature is comfortable for them. I have had a nasty note left on my car. I've had the police called within minutes of leaving the dogs so I know the person was watching and knew the dogs weren't suffering. I live in a small town so I'm not as worried about someone breaking into the car and stealing the dogs. Though both of the above incidents happened in my area. There are times I have to visit the medical clinic in the larger town and I have to take the dogs with me because it is 50 miles away and that is too long for them to be in a crate in the house. I worry the whole time I'm in the clinic. My husband and I have been known to take turns with what we're doing so one of us is with the dogs in the car, walking them, or doing whatever is necessary for their wellbeing. Every day I get more worried about what people are going to do.

Posted by: eph58 | January 29, 2017 2:26 PM    Report this comment

When I had my 7 poodles; Yes, they would come with me even to where I worked part time on the weekend. They had water and fresh air, no one bothered them.
they'd get out periodically to walk and customers loved them and they loved the attention. Bad weather, hot or cold NO WAY. Now my one dog gets car sick while traveling at times so she can't go. the other one is gregarious when he sees people or other dogs so the car would be in a bad condition. I wish I could take them with me in good weather. a treat. KoKo, Mission and Alex LOVED to go in the car too. I could run in and get something and come back to find them asleep on the seats. In bad weather, the car can exaggerate the temps more than outside. If you are cold or hot; so are they.

Posted by: Daizie59 | January 29, 2017 1:06 PM    Report this comment

Like others, I had a dog with separation anxiety. Weather permitting, he went everywhere with me unless it was inappropriate. I went into a store with a window front and came out to a note telling me what a horrible person I was using choice profanity even though it was a cool day and the sun was already down. In that short time, I hadn't noticed the person who left the note, so they could have had enough time to break my window and take my dog while I was distracted. I wish they had stuck around to have a conversation with me. Leaving my dog in the car was a horrible thing to do because there are crazy people out there. The thought that someone could break into my car and steal my dog changed my behavior instantly. Sadly, it kept me from sharing precious time with my dog who later passed away. I cannot say that I don't bring my new dog along with me whenever possible, but if I cannot see the car and my dog, I don't stop anywhere.

Posted by: RosieJ | January 29, 2017 12:32 PM    Report this comment

Leaving dog(s) in car got safer when we installed Breeze Master screens in back windows of all our cars. Backseat windows can be all the way down for dogs' comfort. Screens keep dogs in and crazies out.

Posted by: mswesten | January 29, 2017 12:11 PM    Report this comment

I leave my dog in the car for about an hour if the temperature is moderate - 45 - 55 or so. I lock the doors. And I only do it when the car is parked in my driveway. The dog just likes to watch the neighborhood sights and she loves being in the comfort of the car. Its kind of a luxury dog house. Its also a very good neighborhood with good people. So many dogs are in dog houses all day long in yards and no one feels the need to complain. I check on her frequently. Even with this, neighbors have come to my door wherever I live and feel the need to let me know that they are concerned. This is before we have even been introduced because we have recently moved in. So its a combination of people who are irresponsible and have left their dogs in cars in dangerous conditions which stories are spread widely through the media. And that is combined with neighbors whose responses do not consider the conditions outside. I also bring my dog to the stores for quick trips. I lock my doors. I park close to the store entrances or I don't go in if I can't get a parking space that close. In short I take every precaution as I know all the stories and dangers that could happen. But still, I feel that the biggest problem will be someone smashing the car window or calling the police. There are options. These people could contact the store and make an announcement on the loudspeaker first. Or check how long the car is parked there. Look in on the dog. A distressed dog will show clear signs of discomfort. So many reasonable things can be done before simply reacting excessively.

Posted by: rjmcca22 | January 29, 2017 12:07 PM    Report this comment

Gosh...you sure hit a nerve and divided The Whole Dog population in half on this one!
I am a PT underpaid social worker. I work in a small one level building with windows I can park right outside of in a decent neighborhood, about 10 minutes from the home in which I live with two elder parents. My pup is strong and protective. My folks cannot handle her, so like many, she spends my work hours alone with all the comforts.
She too loves to be with me and ride in the car. The passenger seat is extended (yes I know the backseat is safer) and she has a nest for herself with water accessible. She loves to rest her head on my leg, or in the crook of my elbow as we drive along.
On most days that are temperate (36-60 degrees or so) she will be picked up on my break, and come back for my last hour or so of work. She loves to do that.
Mind you I work for a city related agency and have for over 25 years. One day a police officer comes into our office looking for me at about 4:15. He asks me to come out with him. When I had returned to the office a coworker had asked if I had brought my little one back. A particular employee who is a known animal advocate/lover...her mouth fell open. SHE felt it was too hot. (It was about 62). Perhaps her car had been in the sun all day, or she was menopausal...but our car was NOT hot, and sun shade was up; it truly was comfortable. This person got off work at 4 PM. Officer shows up within 15 minutes...put the pieces together. I called the police to find out who reported it but of course they were too gutless...and my guess is it had to be her. Which she denied to our director. Who told her she hoped that should she ever have a concern about any employee she would speak to them FIRST before calling the police!

The officer claimed I "could not do that." In spite of my attempt to briefly explain the circumstances at home and such. He said I'd have to make "other arrangements" then...I wasn't going to get argumentative. He even realized all was well, and saw me have her hop out to prove it and take her for a walk. But he remained parked until I left. I had to turn off my computer and leave for the day.

I still do it. I have thought of leaving a note, but felt that would draw even more attention.

This is really no different than child care issues and a parent's rights to do what they think is best. I am exceptionally cautious because my little one's well being is the most important thing in the world to me. So her joy, which comes from being in the car, is tempered by my checking temperatures and sunlight, and neighborhoods...She comes with me when running errands, but for eating out, my preferences are limited to take out or a place where I can keep an eye on her from the window.

We also travel together when able, and my rest plaza stops are as brief as I can make them too, especially since some days you can't pick and they might be warmer.

Maybe as time elapses new stores will have some windows where an employee can peer out and check on the dog mom parking area only which will be shaded, and rest plazas will have access from the outside to a dogmom rest area where it's one at a time and our pups can come with us.

Posted by: robin r | January 29, 2017 11:18 AM    Report this comment

Yes! It depends on the dog. We had a dog with serious sep. anx. and she felt comfortable in the car; it was like a moving couch. She could not be left alone in the house but she could be left in the car. So if the weather was not warm or not too freezing we left her there and she was beyond happy.

Posted by: eirelle | January 29, 2017 11:16 AM    Report this comment

I have recently adopted a dog who is very timid and I struggle with having the time and finding opportunities to socialize her at her own (slow) pace. Making her comfortable requires repetition of scary situations. There are places we go over and over such as the barn where I ride my horse. She sleeps in the car (her safe spot) while I ride, then we walk through the barn & grounds. She has become more comfortable w these surroundings as we've repeated this almost daily. To leave her home and miss this opportunity would be unfortunate. It also allows me to live the rest of my life while using every opportunity I can to socialize her. I just can't commit to the full-time job of this dog's training and need to be creative.

I am meticulously conscious of the conditions in the car, but many here are right that crazies or misguided do-gooders don't know that. I place a sign in my window that says "If I'm not shivering, I'm not cold (it's winter here). And my mom will be back in just a few minutes. Please don't break the windows unless I look distressed. And please don't scare me as I'm very timid. Thank you, Cashmere."

Posted by: Cashmere | January 29, 2017 10:51 AM    Report this comment

I do not leave my dogs in the car. They only come with me if I am going to a dog friendly place where they can come in with me. If not, they stay home where they are comfortable and safe.

Posted by: anniem | January 29, 2017 10:28 AM    Report this comment

I don't ever leave my dogs in the car, for fear dog fighters will break in and steal them for use as fight bait.

Posted by: Doggies' Dame | January 29, 2017 10:11 AM    Report this comment

My dogs (Eng Springer and GSP) love to travel with us and are great in the car. I have a grate across the back of the front seats and have geared up the whole back of my SUV so it's like one big room. No chance to get hurt in the foot wells and comfy dog beds to curl up. We don't leave for long periods of time but they are always fine and relaxed when we return. Our Eng Springer has some SA (getting better) and this is our best solution. Our SUV has tinted rear windows so you can't see them. Since they don't bark or whine - you would have to get close to car to see them. We are lucky to live in an area that is very dog friendly so we can take them in many stores, restaurants and coffee shops but not everywhere. They would be sad to miss the opportunity to tool around town with us and meet new people.

Posted by: BusyVP | January 29, 2017 9:52 AM    Report this comment

Yes it about heat or cold ,it's also about how cruel humans can be, I've worked for a lot of vets, animal control and shelters my main fear that Emmy would be stolen and used as a bait dog for fighting, and don't think for a moment it's not going on around you. If you are not there with them, leave them home !!!

Posted by: Emmy's mom | January 29, 2017 9:50 AM    Report this comment

It depends on the situation, which stores I'm shopping at, and of course the weather. I'll let him stay in the car if I'm making a quick stop at a convenience store or a small grocery store that has their own private parking lot. I make sure I park where I can see the car from the store window. He usually lies down and sleeps and can't be seen unless you look down into the car. I bring him with me into stores that do not sell food in a doggie stroller. People are pleasantly surprised when they see there's a dog in the stroller. I never leave him in the car in a shopping center parking lot.

Posted by: kngcavspn | January 29, 2017 9:42 AM    Report this comment

Always take my 2 babies with me. Usually go with my husband so if we have to check we can. In summer we take 2keys leave car running with air on. Don't think anyone wants to let them out. 7 month old 50 lbs pure muscle. 2 year old 65 lbs muscle. Do not take if going to movies or show. To eat and shopping only

Posted by: Boxer mommy | January 29, 2017 9:35 AM    Report this comment

I don't leave my dog in the car because it's dangerous to do so I have done it on a cool day when I had to run into a store that did not allow dogs, to pick up a prescription. When I returned to the car, she had her tail between her legs as if I had punished her. I always take her with me into the store. So far, I haven't been told to leave her outside.

Posted by: pascalelee53 | January 29, 2017 9:27 AM    Report this comment

Thanks for this article. I take my dog to places like the local garden center where she is welcome. Other than that, she mostly stays home. On a long trip, I try to make a rest stop visit as brief as humanly possible. I fast walk or sprint to the bathroom and back. I really don't trust rest stop parking lots. Too many crazies out there.

Posted by: Luna52 | January 29, 2017 9:20 AM    Report this comment

If I'm not in the car, neither are my dogs. If they can't go into the places I'm going, they stay at home with their toys, food & TV. I don't like to sit in a car & wait for someone, so I wouldn't make them do it.

Posted by: Andi Mom | January 29, 2017 9:18 AM    Report this comment

As a general rule I don't leave my dogs in cars -- but there are always exceptions. Once I was 2 hours from home to visit my son who wasn't yet home and needed to use the restroom. Went to a nearby grocery, left the car running with A/C on, in the handicap spot up front (have handicap plate) ran in and used rest room. I was gone less than 10 minutes. - came back to some woman telling me she called the police on me and gave them my license. I politely thanked her (if the car wasn't running she did what she should have done). THen proceeded to unlock my car - she continued to harp/rant apparantly upset there was no confrontation! Kept telling me she SAW me leave the dog in the car and I couldn't leave until police arrived and they would come to my home and arrest me and I should be in jail. The amazing part is she didn't say anything when I left the dog and she knew that I had NOT been gone but a few minutes and was STILL on a rampage! I simply kept thanking her for her concern - which riled her even more. Then I got in my car and left. Some people are not concerned with the dog - they just want the drama!

Posted by: catbryant | January 29, 2017 9:16 AM    Report this comment

It is obvious that most concerns involve people, not dogs. If any stranger approached my vehicle with my 3 dogs inside, they wouldn't have a chance in hell of a dognapping. These are just mini American Shepherds, mind you, but they bond to their families and not strangers. That being said, just use common sense and STOP crazy people who think they own some sort of fantasy moral high ground from shaping your sensible, common-sense behavior. If someone tries to take your dog, threaten, or aggressively berate or threaten you in any way, grow a spine, call the cops and PRESS CHARGES!!

Posted by: RGBird | January 29, 2017 9:15 AM    Report this comment

When the weather is appropriate we do this all the time. It is a special convenience when staying at dog friendly vacation resorts. We aren't able to leave our greyhound alone in the room or cabin. She will howl. But using the car to go to the restaurant or eating area that dogs aren't allowed in, she stays in the car where she's comfortable and never fusses about being left.

Posted by: jpapp | January 29, 2017 9:11 AM    Report this comment

I will soon be living IN my car. That will be our home until I can get another apt after being evicted for being unable to pay rent. I have no idea how long, maybe 1-2 months, maybe longer. I worry about it lasting into summer (Texas summer). I will keep a temperature gauge that I have, so I know the temps inside the car. I will park in any shade I can find, and keep windows open. If anyone objects, I will post a sign that explains, and may leave it on the car any time I am away from it. I may get more and better ideas as this goes forward. I am always willing to learn.

Posted by: Ld5town | January 29, 2017 9:03 AM    Report this comment

Hard and fast rule for me -- Never, never NEVER leave my dog in my car alone, regardless of the weather. Here in Ottawa, Canada, we've had car jacking with animals inside, neither of which are found again. If I have to run errands, etc. I drive home, put my dog in the house and go out again. If anything happened to my Gracie, if she is stolen or killed because of my actions, I would never forgive myself. Not worth the risk. I see dogs in cars barking like crazy while their owners are in a restaurant having a leisurely meal. WHY take your dog along in the first place?! I just don't get it.

Posted by: LoveGSDs | January 29, 2017 8:57 AM    Report this comment

I 100% agree with your friend. Like you, I agree there are times of year when the weather is perfect for dogs to be comfortably left in the car. My dogs don't have separation anxiety and curl up on the seat to await my return. I lived in rural Canada for 8 years and had to drive a long way to the dentist and my regular vet (as opposed to the emergency vet) so we would regularly stay over and the dogs would wait in the car. I have always been sensible about when I made those trips because my dogs' welfare is of paramount importance. However, I now live somewhere where dogs are stolen from cars (30 have been stolen in the town I work in and 26 in the town I live in) and people are more vigilant about dogs being left in cars. I appreciate the increased awareness but it is not necessarily intelligent awareness and so there is a further risk of 'hero' behaviour that would cause my dogs and myself (di)stress. So all in all, I now think it's better to leave the dogs home which is a shame as I often used it as an opportunity for 1:1 socialisation for my two reactive dogs and bonding for any of the three if I took them out on a solo trip.

Posted by: mutinousmutts | January 29, 2017 1:48 AM    Report this comment

My dogs are service dogs. But, sometimes my trip in and out is so fast that it take longer to open the back cardoor put on the vest straighten it then it does to do the errand. So, I have a handicap plaquared and I park right in front. More than once I have dropped groceries or whatever and ran out to my vehicle to save my dogs from kids and adults teasing them!! Tapping on the windows until they are about to come through them! One guy started pounding on the window and you should have seen the look on his face when I am running at him full bore and screaming! Common sense has left the building!!
Another time I was in Yuma and I ran into the store for dog stuff and I had the car running air conditioning blowing on high and jazz music playing. My boys were sound asleep! This woman comes running into the store yelling call 911 there are dogs in a vehicle barking! I started telling her they were sleeping until you started pounding on the windows. She called the cops and they never came. The woman threatened to hit me. I had her plate numbers and everything. I took her back out there and showed her they are quite until you start tapping and I had just had the pilot washed and detailed before going over there. She had finger marks and smudges on all my windows!!!

Posted by: Kathleennovo | January 28, 2017 11:40 PM    Report this comment

If I leave my girls in the car it is less than 10 minutes under any circumstances. Good Samaritans have been known to smash windows of cars to
"rescue" dogs. I leave a sign that says that the air conditioner is on and so is the radio, please don't destroy my mommy's property!! Besides, what if the air conditioner suddenly fails---? What happens then? So while my girls almost always accompany me on my errands, I take them home before any grocery shopping. They come inside with me when I get my oil changed. I like being able to take my dog into places of business....the florist, the auto repair shop, when I shop at the garden center so I tend to patronize places that allow me to do that, even the local hardware store and tractor supply store.

Posted by: Mel Blacke | January 28, 2017 6:00 PM    Report this comment

How many readers of WDJ have heard of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the famous "dancing" suspension bridge in Washington State that oscillated so wildly in the wind it eventually (in 1940) collapsed? You can watch old newsreel footage of the bridge and its collapse; the videos are easy to find on the internet. Some of them show a car that had been parked on the bridge before the collapse and a few point out that a dog had been left in the car. In at least one newsreel a man can be seen attempting to reach the car, but he gives up, presumably out of fear. Was he the car's (and the dog's) owner? Who knows? But the event illustrates dramatically that one can never know for sure what will befall an animal which has been locked helplessly in an automobile. That poor little pooch died in terror, because its owner assumed the worst wouldn't happen. I intend never to make that mistake!

Posted by: Alvin Hill | January 28, 2017 1:07 AM    Report this comment

ON A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT NOTE: We had a case here in NC where a man left his dog in his car - and his car was stolen! The thief was caught on camera with the dog licking his face! The dog owner put out pleas to return the dog - forget the car. Sadly 2 days later the car was found miles away with the dog dead inside. So regardless of heat, etc, I would never risk losing my dogs.

Posted by: misselenaous | January 27, 2017 9:10 PM    Report this comment

My Jake loves going with me on short errands...I'm never gone more than 10 mins. and he loves waiting in the car. Windows are down about 4" and the weather is always cold or cool. I would never take him in the heat...it's one good thing about winter! He loves when I take him to fuel up my car or go to the bank drive thru...he often gets treats!
He and I are "thick as thieves" and hate to be apart!!!!

Posted by: JakeR | January 27, 2017 7:00 PM    Report this comment

I take my dogs with me and leave them for short times in the car, but they are always traveling with me in metal crates, which provide the most ventilation. I have shade screens on my Toyota, and the majority of times no one would know I have dogs in my car as they are comfortable in their crates and would not be barking. Crates have also been shown to be safer for your pet in the car as they offer additional protection, and also in an accident well meaning people rush to open the car doors and your dog might escape.

Posted by: camelot | January 27, 2017 8:15 AM    Report this comment

I'd love to take my dog with me quite a bit more than I do. I live in the suburbs of a very large metropolitan area though, and am afraid of having my poodle mix stolen. It happens on a fairly regular basis in our area. For that reason, he's only in the car if I am. I had not worried about people breaking in to"save" him, but there is a fairly large portion of the population here which feels very entitled and always right so I could very much see that happening. Sad that in the modern world we can't take our dogs with us; it's a better life for both species.

Posted by: Alice R. | January 27, 2017 6:14 AM    Report this comment

All 4 of my dogs are generally with me. They love the car, which they probably associate with their favorite thing in life-hiking. Since I am retired, we hike 3 times a week, and almost always do an errand or two, before or after. They are well-behaved in the car, waiting quietly, usually asleep. I live in a rural, farming area of northern CA. No one has ever voiced any concerns about their welfare. They have access to water, which is legally mandated here. In the summer we hike at 5 a.m. to avoid the worst of the heat, and I grocery shop at 11 p.m., when it has cooled somewhat. I will park far away from a store so that the car will be in shade, in spring or fall, when one worries about the sun.
I read of a law enforcement canine that was left in a patrol car and perished when the car's a/c failed, so I do not rely on that. After reading the other comments, I will leave a note with my cell phone # on the dash, so that concerned by-standers could contact me if they are worried.......

Posted by: hilfri | January 27, 2017 12:29 AM    Report this comment

When I had my Bouvier's I would leave them in the car if weather permitted they would guard the car. Bouvier & Papillon never worried about the little dog getting stolen. Now days no way would i leave my small dog in the car by them self's. Wish I had stayed with Bouvier breed great dogs.

Posted by: DobeDash | January 26, 2017 11:44 PM    Report this comment

In Arizona it is illegal to leave dogs Or kids in a car! With our intense sun cars become ovens in minutes!! All one needs to do is call 911 and report an animal left in the car!!! There is a new law in the works to allow anyone to break into a car to save a dog's life! Cops will put the dog in their air conditioned cars if they are not too bad off and wait for the owner to turn up, timing them! 140degree kills in minutes!

Posted by: Tmalven | January 26, 2017 11:00 PM    Report this comment

Thank God I live in a not crazy area like California. I live in a suburb of Chicago. I leave my dogs alone in the car for short periods of time in good car temp times. I do this because the dogs love it and cant wait to do it. I leave my wife in the car at times also when i run into a store. Is that terrible to?

Posted by: Ray | January 26, 2017 10:17 PM    Report this comment

Yes, if the weather is reasonable, and I consider 50 degrees reasonable as long as I know there is a parking spot in the shade. Where I live in the north, the sun does not shine all that often. I always leave access to water for them. Cloudiness & rain are frequent and thus no threat the car will heat up any higher than the outside temperature. I guess we are fortunate, my dogs do not have separation anxiety and there are not as many crazies around.

Posted by: inglings | January 26, 2017 9:00 PM    Report this comment

My two "kids" are rescues. Never leave them in the car. And for a few minutes? ? Right - there is no such thing as a few minutes. And who knows what will keep a person more than a "few minutes". All the reasons and excuses are not enough to risk any of the above mentioned situations. Common sense.

Posted by: Calirose | January 26, 2017 8:40 PM    Report this comment

I have 3 german shepherds and 1 of them is always with me. They don't mind the cold and during the summer i leave the car running. We go out to dinner and leave a dog in the car for hours (moonfoof and windows open if warm). They love it. If someone were to reach in to supposedly save the dog, I wish them luck. I'll come back to the car to find people parts.

Posted by: ncoastmd | January 26, 2017 6:23 PM    Report this comment

I would never leave my kids alone in my car, therefore, I would never leave my dog alone in the car. No matter what the temperature outside is. Period. It's been known of people stealing dogs from cars, yards etc. to use for bait dogs in dog fighting. I would die if they were stolen and had to think they were being tortured somewhere and I could have prevented it.

Posted by: cyberbarb | January 26, 2017 6:14 PM    Report this comment

I leave my Labrador Retrievers in the car all the time - always with the windows open and the doors locked. The only exceptions are in extreme weather, especially high heat and humidity. They're well behaved in the car and enjoy sticking their noses or heads out to sniff or greet anyone who may pass by. The only comments I have ever gotten from others have been positive, normally delivered with a smile. We keep a nalgene water bottle and collapsible dish in the car and give them a drink if we're out for any extended time. They love being with us and that includes running errands, picking up a pizza, etc. We don't take them in the car if we're going somewhere unfamiliar to us or if we expect to be away from the car for more than a few minutes. After all, they do rely on us to make good decisions on their behalf.

Posted by: Jleamy | January 26, 2017 5:45 PM    Report this comment

I left my dog in the car to run in to a store. I was on my way to a vet's appointment with my dog who had recently been diagnosed with cancer. The temperature was in the 60's. When I came out (after less than ten minutes), a woman was standing behind my car so that I could not back out of the parking space. She informed me that she had called the police because I had left my dog in the car. She was nearly hysterical, claiming I had tried to run her over. Her screams attracted a small crowd. She pulled out her phone and snapped my picture. The policeman arrived and told the woman that I had not broken the law and the dog was clearly not in any distress. She said that next time, she would break the window; to which the policeman replied, 'Now then YOU would have a problem.' So a ten minute stop turned into an hour long ordeal. No I do not leave my dog in the car - no matter how temperate the weather is. Who knows what kind of crazies you may encounter?

Posted by: LAB | January 26, 2017 5:02 PM    Report this comment

I raise and train service dogs so there are times when I have multiple dogs with me in the car. My vehicle is set up to monitor the temperature inside and alert me if there is a problem. All the dogs are in crates inside my car just as they would be at home. I even have a note on the window of the van explaining all of this, and I STIL get people who call the police or just wait for me to return to the van to verbally harass me because leaving a dog alone in a car is a death sentence. When I get my next vehicle it will be a van with NO WINDOWS. Sucks for the dogs not getting to watch the world go by, but then people won't know if there are dogs in the van or not.

I also sometimes drive a car for the pet sitting agency I work for. Their car has lovely large life-sized pictures of dogs in the windows. I have had people demand to know what kind of agency allows me to leave those poor dogs alone in the car . . . the pictures . . . they think they are real . . .

People need to do a self check on this issue.

Posted by: dogascopilot | January 26, 2017 4:47 PM    Report this comment

If I ever had to leave my dog in the car for a few minutes I left the engine running with a/c on and locked the doors. Of course I had a set of keys with me. Its not ideal but there may be a situation that may call for it.

Posted by: gmom | January 26, 2017 4:46 PM    Report this comment

I would never leave my kids alone in my car, therefore, I would never leave my dog alone in the car. No matter what the temperature outside is. Period.

Posted by: Melody's Mom | January 26, 2017 3:58 PM    Report this comment

NO WAY! Unless we are in the safety of my own home, my dogs are never out of my sight. I have a six foot fence, with chicken wire stapled to the fence and buried underground, and I don't even let my dogs out to go potty without me - EVER. The chance that my dogs could somehow get out, get stolen, get injured, be tormented, abused or attacked by a human or animal is enough of a deterrent to prevent me from leaving them anywhere without my supervision. Sure, we miss out on the potential socialization and training opportunities, but when compared to the possibility of an untimely loss of one of my dogs - it is an easy choice.

Posted by: iheartmydogs | January 26, 2017 3:50 PM    Report this comment

most people who complain about a dog being in a car are those who do not own dogs and consider themselves "dog advocates". I have seen men leave their dogs in hot cars with windows up and said something to him and he got mad at me and told me to mind my own business, I have dogs myself and would never leave the windows up all the way.

Posted by: kickurtail | January 26, 2017 3:42 PM    Report this comment

I have left my dog in the car when I went to a Walmart in texas when I came out (2 minutes in and out)the animal control was at my car asking me to show her my dog. I opened the door called my dog and no dog; some one took it upon themselves to break into my car and take my dog to the front of Walmart. I went up got my dog and received a ticket but it never was submitted because first my dog was in no danger(he was a puppy and crying because I left him there) and secondly the woman broke into my car and stole my dog without my permission. I a person is going into a store (that does not allow animals because they are not service dogs) I believe it should be fine if the weather permits it, but not if it is too cold or hot. I think people sometimes are overly concern and busy bodies.

Posted by: kickurtail | January 26, 2017 3:36 PM    Report this comment

I live in Phoenix. I go from the perspective that it is never okay to leave your dog in a car here. Even in January, the sun can beat down on a car and raise the inside temperatures too much. That said, there are times that it is really okay to bring them along and leave them in the car. But I've seen too many people taking their dogs with them during summer and going inside to shop while their dog is outside in the car when it is 115 degrees.

I personally think it is just better for the dogs and the owner to just leave them at home. They are safer there.

Posted by: K-9 Crew | January 26, 2017 3:16 PM    Report this comment

I never left my dog in a car. I would never even put my dog in a crate. My dog is my baby.

Posted by: Lidija | January 26, 2017 2:50 PM    Report this comment

I had a beautiful Keeshond and people were always telling me how beautiful he was so I got paranoid and wouldn't leave him in the car to even just run into the Post Office and drop off a package. I have heard so many horror stories about poisoning and stealing that I would rather be safe and not sorry.

I do take my dogs to the park and leash free beach several times a week, weather permitting. So they get plenty of exercise and adventure. Luckily they don't have the desire to roll on dead things.

One time I was getting something out of the car and my Keeshond jumped into the back seat and wouldn't get out. Absolutely refused. So I had to drive around the block several times and then he would. He was so funny. I miss him so much.

Posted by: Knyles | January 26, 2017 2:41 PM    Report this comment

I take my dogs with me, weather permitting, but only if I am going to be away a few minutes at each stop. My dogs always travel in wire crates in my SUV, with shade cloths pulled down when I am away from the car. But mostly, I take them with me when one of these stops is one where they may accompany me inside. They love going to pet friendly stores, and I try to make one of the stops on our outings either a short hike, or to a local park for obedience training. I can't stress enough how important it is to keep your animals safe while in your car. They would become flying missiles, even in a minor accident! A close relative's two dogs were saved in such an instance, only because they were in crates.

Posted by: goldenz1 | January 26, 2017 2:32 PM    Report this comment

I don't live my life based on other people. People can often act out of self righteousness and a warped sense of judgement. I do what is best for my dogs and myself. Period.

Posted by: tmatt | January 26, 2017 2:27 PM    Report this comment

Reallly the comments comparing dogs and babies shows how confused our society values human life. Give yourself a shake and reconsider your values. If you have a religious persuasion consider talking to your religious advisor and have a discussion about the value of a human life. I have three well trained gorgeous dogs, two standard poodles and a papillon. They traveled with me from coast to coast three times. I take them every where with me. I left them in the car many times. They just go to sleep. For you people to give me lectures about car temperatures are just assuming that you are so superior and smarter than everyone else to assume that I don't know how to safely care for my dogs. My last little dog lived to be 20 years old and was walked and loved and traveled with me until the very end when she laid in her bed, refused to get up and refused hand fed chicken. My vet came to my house and the family, vet and vet tech sat on the floor and loved her until she crossed over the rainbow bridge. Can you say the same for your dogs?

Posted by: ECStanton | January 26, 2017 2:19 PM    Report this comment

Weather permitting, I'll take my dogs along since I live in an area where it it pretty safe to do so. But as your friend suggested, there are the crazies out there. We were on vacation once and had pull off the highway to grab a bite at a fast food place. It was mild temperatures and raining (i.e. no sun) so after letting the dogs relieve themselves, we left them in the car and sat inside the restaurant near a window where we could see the car. By the time we had finished the meal 15 minutes later, someone had called the police on us. I think the officer was probably annoyed with the whole thing and decided to give us a lecture for his time, despite the fact we politely pointed out it was cool enough that the small dog was even curled up under her blanket and in no way overheating in the rain.

Posted by: wrk | January 26, 2017 2:19 PM    Report this comment

The only thing I don't like about summer is that I can't take my dog with me when running errands unless I'm only going into dog friendly places. Fortunately, in Toronto, dogs are allowed in many stores, even large department stores. He has a pillow and blanket in the back seat and just goes to sleep if I'm gone for more than just a few minutes. As long as it's not hot, there isn't any judgement that I know of by people for leaving your dog in the car. I see it quite often. I feel much safer leaving him in the car than tying him up outside the store.

Posted by: Murphymom | January 26, 2017 2:13 PM    Report this comment

I love my dog like my child and I would never leave him alone in the car. You all say you leave the window down for air. Well my neighbor did that and someone through a couple pieces of hot dog into the LITTLE opening and they had poison in them. The dog was unresponsive when she got back to the car so she took him to the vet immediately. They found poison in his blood. There was still a piece of hot dog in the car that they tested and it matched the poison in the dogs blood. After a week in ICU the dog recovered but not to the extent he had been.

Posted by: 35255888 | January 26, 2017 1:59 PM    Report this comment

I used to take my dog, who is now deceased everywhere with me. I never thought nothing of it. Of course she rarely was left in the car. I tucked her under my arm and took her with. The odd time yes to run into the Dollar Tree or someplace real quick but now NO WAY. I was at a breed specific show in a foreign city almost everyone left their dogs in the car while we all went for dinner together. I wouldn't for exactly the reasons in the your article. It happens all the time. Busted windows, missing dogs out of your vehicle. It doesn't matter the temperature, or even the breed, there are crazy people out there or fanatical people. I can understand if a dog is left unattended on a scorching hot day with windows closed but people will go to your car the minute you have left it and are through the door to run your errand and then put pictures up on social media just to get attention. Also dogs are stolen from vehicles and used for all sorts of things. Nope my dogs stay with me. It just means extra dog special outings for socialization.

Posted by: Brantford dog lover | January 26, 2017 1:54 PM    Report this comment

I'm a veterinarian. My dog LOVES the car. Could be in it for hours. Left her one day in car for an hour appointment, 35 degrees outside. She loves the cold, too. Came out to find that the car was being towed (illegally parked unbeknownst to me). Dog was gone. Animal control had to come to get her out before they would tow car. Local cop was annoyed. Thought that I was being irresponsible (matter of opinion). All is well now. She had her first, and hopefully last, paddy wagon ride.

Posted by: RVC | January 26, 2017 1:54 PM    Report this comment

On Lopez Island we all take our dogs in the car with us at all times. They stay in the unlocked car with windows down just to the point the large dogs can't jump out. They are expect to not bark at other people or dogs. It is quite pleasant and the dogs love rides in the car and they jump in the car or truck as soon as they can. Sometimes I have to entice my dogs to get out of the car when we get home. Ithe weather in the Pacific Northwest in generally not an issue because of the coolness. I am sorry for all of you who live in a place so dangerous that you cannot take your dogs with you. You are missing a joyful experience.

Posted by: ECStanton | January 26, 2017 1:52 PM    Report this comment

I used to take my dogs everywhere with me, unless it was hot out. But in this day and age, I'm too nervous. Police have the right to shoot your dog if they pull you over, whether they are barking or not friendly, just keeping their loved ones safe. I've been reading more horror stories about family pets getting shot by cops. Nope, not getting mine. It's just not worth it these days. People chastise you if your dog is left only only 10 minutes and I appreciate the concern, but, too much trouble.

Posted by: mellogrrl65 | January 26, 2017 1:36 PM    Report this comment

Since I travel with my dogs extensively to shows, there are many times the dogs are left in the van alone (in individual crates) while I register into a hotel, run equipment into or out of the show building, if no indoor crating space, eat, etc. There have even been times where the dogs have stayed in the van overnight (no dog motel policy, or the place was so skanky I wouldn't take my dogs inside the room!), or we camped at the show site.
My van is outfitted with front and rear heat and a/c, temperature sensors, and auxiliary fans to insure the dogs are in a comfortable environment. 2 keys allow me to run the van with heat or a/c as needed, or in temperate weather a sliding roof and vent wings open, while locking the vehicle. Dark tinted windows keep prying eyes from seeing them, and I check on them frequently. If I ever felt there was a danger to them being in the van alone, I'd hire a 'sitter' to stay in the van with them.

Posted by: Toadhall | January 26, 2017 1:33 PM    Report this comment

A good Samaritan is someone who rescues from a hot car. If it's 60 degrees outside and overcast, and the moon roof is open, and you can stick your fingers in the car and it is clearly the same temperature in as it is out, and you still throw a tantrum, you are not a good Samaritan. You are probably upsetting my dog to boot. Yes, approach his car and he is going to bark at you. He wants you to leave.

I have a special needs dog. He cannot be left home for long periods because of his disability. Sometimes I have to bring him with me. He is never any less safe in the car then he is at home. He is crated, and I make sure he is safe.

As for emergencies with me... I could drop dead at home, too, and it would take a lot longer for him to be found there than in a parking lot, so not a good argument in my case.

He's going to be with me if the weather permits because it's what is best for him. I will never put him in harm's way. He's my whole life.

Common sense is in order. If the dog is comfortable, if you live somewhere it is safe to leave a dog without risk of theft I see no reason to leave the dog home alone when he could be out on an adventure.

Posted by: Hound Dog Mom | January 26, 2017 1:26 PM    Report this comment

We live in a rural area and do periodically leave our dogs in the car on trips to nearby town as the weather allows and when we intend to incorporate socialization or training activities into the trip. But we do worry about three things: (1) behavior of other people - had this happen one beautiful 55 degree day when I left my dog in the car to run into a grocery store to purchase a single item at self checkout. The car windows were down about 3 1/2" and I was away less than 10 minutes. When I returned a woman was circling my car and lectured me for not leaving the windows cracked more. My dog was not even panting and the temp inside the car was comfortable. (2) someone will steal my dog - who is a striking Aussie with blue eyes. This is another reason why I dont like to leave the windows down more than about 3 1/2 - 4". (3) someone will gain entry to my car to steal the vehicle - and the dog will be harmed as collateral damage. So, we minimize the time our dogs are left alone in the car. We leave them no more than 30 minutes - and if more than 20 minutes I prefer to have ability to visually check on the car from a distance.

Posted by: Jswitte | January 26, 2017 1:24 PM    Report this comment

I frequently travel to nose work trials with my dog in a secured crate. The only time she is left alone is during my bathroom breaks. In hot weather, I will park under the canopy over the pumps at a gas station, crack the windows, turn on her fan and potty as fast as I can. I bring food and/or use the drive-through at restaurants.

Posted by: BebeRussell | January 26, 2017 1:20 PM    Report this comment

Nowadays there are too many people who would steal a dog from a car if they got the chance. My dogs used to go with me a lot but not anymore unless they are allowed into whatever store I am going to OR unless I know I will only be a few minutes and can view the car while I'm in whatever place.

Posted by: sarosomo | January 26, 2017 1:19 PM    Report this comment

My dogs don't go in the car unless it's a dog event where they get out of the car. 35 years ago when I lived in Maine, a summer tourist got pissed off about parking spaces and screamed that he had given my dog something dangerous to eat. Yup, there were crazies even back then. But from that moment on, I realized my dog was at risk if left unattended. Long ago I saw a dog dying of heat stroke in a car (also in Maine) but didn't know what to do at the time. Now I carry friendly-worded flyers that explain the dangers of a hot car, and slip one on a windshield. But a year ago I saw a dog in actual distress outside a super market, so I went inside the market with the license plate number, and the market made an announcement on the loudspeaker.

Posted by: SundogsHawaii | January 26, 2017 1:18 PM    Report this comment

I share the opinion of many others - dogs should never be left unattended in cars. Those who do are putting their own convenience, comfort and enjoyment ahead of the dog's. Sure, dogs love car rides. But who enjoys sitting in the car alone when their companion leaves them? What if the owner has an accident and cannot return to the car? Who would ever know to get the dog? The same goes for leaving a dog caged for hours (call it a "crate," but it's still a cage), expecting them to either sit in their own waste or attempt to hold it, just waiting for the owner to decide when it's convenient for them to release them. A dog is not a plaything to be be caged and periodically released for your entertainment. If you treated another human this way, you would be jailed.

Posted by: BJG | January 26, 2017 1:07 PM    Report this comment

I can sympathize with Kalliekaykat. I have been traveling with my dog 250 miles back and forth to my mother's every 2 weeks since her husband passed away. I keep a crate in the car at all times. When I need to make a bathroom stop, I look for a port-a-potty. I leave the door to the port-a-potty open a crack with my dog on a leash just outside. If I can't find one, I head into the trees and we find a fitting tree together.

Posted by: Pea | January 26, 2017 12:42 PM    Report this comment

I take my dog with me everywhere I go on the weekends--weather permitting of course. I have to leave him during the week when I go to work so I want to spend as much time with him when I can and he loves car rides. But I keep my time away from him to 15 min or so. He is a service dog in training, so he's only allowed in places that already allow dogs.

Posted by: Fishfriends2 | January 26, 2017 12:32 PM    Report this comment

The world has gone insane. And I refuse to let the harassment of all these "helpers" take me down with them. I don't live close to town. There's just not enough time to drive back & forth multiple times between work and chores, especially in the winter. My dog would never get to go on our hikes, swims, walking chores through town or dog park otherwise. He loves the car; it takes him fun places, even if I need to make a couple stops before or after. I've had animal control called on me several times over the years [apparently it's also insane that he be tied up for 5 minutes outside a store because we actually WALKED there.] and have never been cited once. The officers look at me confused, as if I could explain to them why they were called. The people that call are probably the same ones that pay me exorbitant amounts of money to pet sit and walk their dogs; and also wonder why their dogs are happier to see me than them. Look, if we're reading and posting on this site, we all love our dogs. They are all different, and I would not assume to know what's best for yours. And because I do know what's best for mine, he will continue to wait for me while I run into the store so that we can go play. I care more about my dog's health & happiness than other people's egos & superhero fantasies. Weather permitting - DUH. PS: my dog is big & ugly. No one would think they should steal him for any purpose.

Posted by: getanotherhobby | January 26, 2017 12:29 PM    Report this comment

I live in California. Please, please do NOT leave your dog in the car here. Dog theft is rampant and windows do not stop the pet thieves. By the time someone has noticed the car alarm going off, the window is smashed and the thief is gone. Sadly, in certain areas here they are used for dog fighting rings, others just see something they can take for free or sell. It's not worth losing your precious fur-kid. It will haunt you.....there are so many stories....it's not worth it.

Posted by: Kayleigh | January 26, 2017 12:24 PM    Report this comment

My story is rather humorous...a number of years ago, I was helping out at a fine wood furniture fair when a broadcast came over the sound system. Supposedly there was a van in the parking lot with a dog in distress. I ignored the announcement since I had not brought my dog. The announcement was repeated and I got to thinking - I had a van and in the back seat was a lambskin that my dog loved sleeping on. Evidently the concerned citizen had very poor eyesight and had mistaken the lambskin for a dog!! I had a good chuckle out of that one. Today, I would never leave my dog in the car for more than a couple of minutes because of all the "concerned citizens" and because it is against the law in this PC area. The police can break into your car if they think an animal is in distress. This is good, but sometimes is carried to the extreme. So, pup has to stay home even when the conditions are conducive to an adventure.

Posted by: jww | January 26, 2017 12:23 PM    Report this comment

As you state, weather permitting...have no problem leaving dog in car for short periods...

Posted by: Annie B | January 26, 2017 11:56 AM    Report this comment

My two 55 pound Border Collie mix sisters love going for rides in the car and if it is cool enough, we have always been able to leave them in our SUV for short periods of time without any issues. They have a large dog bed there and they really enjoy watching people pass by. We did this all the time while living in Maine and nobody ever said a word. We moved to NY almost three years ago and that has changed dramatically. Last March, my wife and I were eating a quick dinner in a diner in Long Island and had left the girls in the car, promising to bring them some tasty bites. While we were eating, we were alerted to the fact that a woman was making a scene in the parking lot and had called the police. We ran outside and our car was surrounded by officers and a very loud and aggressive woman who called us savages for leaving the dogs outside. It was 54 degrees! They were absolutely fine and they had only gotten anxious when people started gathering around car and the yelling started. The police officers ran our plates and determined that the dogs were in no danger. We were horrified because we treat them like babies. We now put a note in the window stating that the dogs are fine and that they are being monitored but we hardly ever leave them anymore because of other people who have decided that they shouldn't be allowed to engage in something that they love to do.

Posted by: RonniK | January 26, 2017 11:45 AM    Report this comment

I'm always surprised with your take on dog care. I WOULD NEVER leave my dog in a vehicle unattended. What if you have a heart attack while you are away? And certainly NEVER have a leisurely lunch.

Posted by: johnsonpat | January 26, 2017 11:39 AM    Report this comment

People are not WORSE than they have always been. We have more ways to hear about it - and our 24x7 news access means we HEAR about it more.

I refuse to allow other people dictate how I choose to live my life. So I take my dogs with me, I protect them as appropriate, I leave them in the car as appropriate, I thank people that raise concerns, however, I REFUSE to not do what I want, how I want, when I want because someone else might not be happy or a slight likelihood of something happening.

I could also have a house fire while I am gone and the dogs are home in their crates. Very unlikely to happen, but still COULD happen. That doesn't mean I don't leave them protected from getting agitated/taunted/stolen from my backyard.

Posted by: Amy in Seattle | January 26, 2017 11:29 AM    Report this comment

I have Ford Bronco that sits high enough to need corral steps for my 73lb rescue Am Staff( and Dobes previous) to get in & out. Its high enough that you can't see in. Only when dogs sit up can they be seen in silhouette. I leave windows down no more than 2-3 inches in front and 4 inches tailgate cause big blunt muzzles make lots of leverage if the interest is right. Obviously if its cold I don't leave windows down, and I use blankets and dog sweaters. This is just shopping, 20 mins tops. Too hot, they stay home.

Posted by: SuperSap | January 26, 2017 11:24 AM    Report this comment

Please never leave your dog in a car alone - please, please, please (or tied up alone)...People are just not as kind as they used to be no matter if you are in a small or small town. I have heard multiple stories of dogs being stolen from cars in Los Angeles (to re-sell them) or taunted by outsiders in Las Vegas. I have seen strangers drop food into car windows for dogs left alone. How would you know nothing happened since you were in the store or Starbucks? All seems fine when you return but there is no way for you to be sure - We are responsible for these kind, beautiful souls and I am sure they would not do it to you no matter the weather. Go to a drive-thru, make your coffee at home before you leave or save that one errand which is most likely not really necessary for another time. (and please - editors and dog-trainers, stop encouraging it - the days of leaving dogs in cars is over)

Posted by: Las Vegas | January 26, 2017 11:16 AM    Report this comment

For all of you that say you leave your dog in the car. Have any of you given any thought as to what would happen to your dog if YOU had some type of medical emergency and were unable to get back to your car? What would happen to your dog then? Or as the world seems to be today with the crazies running around shooting and your dog is in the line of fire. I am not trying to be morbid here but these are things that need to thought of.

Posted by: 35255888 | January 26, 2017 11:10 AM    Report this comment

Never ever do I leave my dog alone in the car. I even worried when I travelled and had to go inside to pay for my gas. In line I was always watching the car, AND I locked it before I went inside.

Posted by: pap luv | January 26, 2017 11:07 AM    Report this comment

If someone breaks into your car (common in San Francisco, where I live) your frightened dog may run away. This happened to me years ago in rural New Mexico, at night. Fortunately my dog was nearby, and came when I called him.

Posted by: susan in sf | January 26, 2017 11:04 AM    Report this comment

I live in the SF Bay Area and my answer is NEVER. Times have changed and if anything ever happened I could never forgive myself.

Posted by: Lunalf | January 26, 2017 11:01 AM    Report this comment

My dog much prefers to come with me in the car. If the outside temperature is too warm for me to be out in the sun I leave her home. I keep a thermometer in my vehicle that records the high and low temperature in addition to the current temperature. On days that are too warm to close a dog in the car I have left her in checking on her every 5 - 10 minutes. I leave the windows open completely, park in the shade, have a cooling mat for her, and leave her a full bowl of fresh cool water. The Temperature inside has never gotten uncomfortably warm. I still have been reported. I even had a young lady lecture me while parked in the shade at 7pm. She said she was a vet tech. I pointed out to her the car was completely shaded and the windows were completely down and offered to let her read the thermometer. She quoted all the facts about temperatures and cars and felt I was an abusive pet owner. I really get tired of people who are half educated poking their nose into my business. I fully applaud those that care enough to rescue a dog in danger. I wish all recognized a pet who is stressed or overheated and only interfered when necessary. My dog won't go with anyone but me and could jump out the window if she needed to I know she is safe or I would leave her home.

Posted by: Jcanfield | January 26, 2017 10:51 AM    Report this comment

I frequently leave my dogs in the vehicle when I am shopping - weather permitting of course. I do use crates, so no busy-body can even see that I have dogs in the vehicle. So no worries about anyone teasing the dogs or trying to "rescue" them!

Posted by: Louann H | January 26, 2017 10:49 AM    Report this comment

ALWAYS WEATHER PERMITTING, my German/French Shepherd LOVES to go with me in the car! Car rides are his favorite thing! He'd much rather go with me in the car than stay home alone. In fact, there are times I'm working in the garage on something and he WANTS to get in the car just to sit...I suspect he wants to make sure if I go anywhere, he's right there with me! :o) When I finish my task in the garage, he often refuses to get out of the car without extensive coaxing! I did have an incident where three people gathered around my car when I was in the grocery store for 8 minutes and were concerned about it being too warm for him (yes, I was timing it since it was a questionable temperature evening)...the cavity of the car was cool when I left, it was overcast (no sun), late evening, and the windows were down slightly...on top of that, when I arrived back at the car, my dog was not even panting and was very content...and most likely wondering who these people were trying to get into his car! They had called the police because they said they didn't know how to get hold of me...funny thing is, I have a business...and my toll free # was on the side of the car!! We followed up with a call to the police & they said we were fine to leave with our dog. I believe if a citizen is concerned about a pet left in a vehicle on a questionable day, the first practical thing they should do is observe the animal. If it's obviously relaxed, not stressed, and not panting, the last thing they should do is distress & upset the animal by trying to get into the car to "rescue" it. If they remain in the area they can keep the car under observation until the owner arrives, just in case it is a case of neglect. After all, there are many responsible pet owners who cherish their human companions and who always consider their safety first.

Posted by: marydee | January 26, 2017 10:39 AM    Report this comment

We live in Kerrville, just north of San Antonio and it gets extremely hot in the summer so I would never, ever consider it. But in the winter, especially if it's cloudy, I'd take her to Walmart and leave her in the car with the windows down 3 inches or so. Our winters are typically very mild. She just flops down on the seat and nobody even knows I have a dog in the car.

Posted by: meldrape | January 26, 2017 10:36 AM    Report this comment

My dogs ride in sturdy, securely attached crates. They are never loose in the car. I keep the second row seats folded down & the crates facing the doors. This way they are secure in their crates AND protected by airbags in the event of an accident.You don't allow your children to ride unrestrained, do you ?

Posted by: Pugmama | January 26, 2017 10:31 AM    Report this comment

We live in Oregon where it's quite cool much of the year. I take my Lab with me to run short errands and leave her in her wire crate in the back of my SUV (which has tinted windows) for a few minutes on occasion. I would caution those of you who leave unattended dogs loose in vehicles: I know a woman whose dog somehow got its collar hung on brake pedal and choked to death while she was inside the bank. If you're going to leave a dog in a vehicle, probably best to have them crated. My husband and I were traveling with our dog (in her crate) last winter and hit a patch of ice. The truck slid off the road and almost landed on its side. My dog was unhurt but could have been badly injured if she'd been unsecured in the vehicle. You wouldn't let your kids ride without a restraint so why do we think it's safe to allow a dog to do so.

Posted by: Vickey G | January 26, 2017 10:30 AM    Report this comment

I live in Phoenix, AZ where it is almost NEVER cool enough to leave a dog or child (or lipstick, water bottle or groceries) in a car. I don't take them unless it's somewhere they can accompany me if I have to leave the car. It's just a good rule of thumb for those who live in the hot desert, so there's no guessing about whether it's a cool enough day. Or, as Kona12 said, memorize the chart.

Posted by: MJC | January 26, 2017 10:26 AM    Report this comment

I used to take my dogs with me running errands all the time as long as it was cool enough outside, but I stopped because of others ignorance in not understanding if its 60 degrees outside and windows are cracked a few inches there is no danger leaving them for 15-20 minutes, also because of the stupidity of others and having them taunted when they are in the car and there have been instances when dogs have been stolen out of cars...so although I love having them with me and they love the car rides, it's just not worth the risk, I will still take them with me for short errands and on short trips to visit relatives, but they don't get the Saturday outings that they used to.

Posted by: dogsbecausepeoplesuck | January 26, 2017 10:22 AM    Report this comment

I do not leave my dog in the car alone, just as I would not leave a small child in the car alone. It is my job to protect her and I feel that leaving her in an unattended car could make her vulnerable to thieves. I just could not bear losing her because of my bad judgement. Unhealthy temperatures is a different matter to consider, and a delay or my return could create an unhealthy temperature. As for concerns that a dog left alone could damage the car interior, for her safety I always travel with my dog crated and the crate seat-belted.

Posted by: Papillon lover | January 26, 2017 10:21 AM    Report this comment

Thank you for this article. I have a Weimaraner with SA if left at home, yet absolutely loves being in the car. She just curls up in a ball on the back seat. I take her nearly everywhere with me, and it's the only way we can go to dinner unless I have a sitter for her. My husband will go out to check on her and she is always asleep. We live in San Francisco, and fortunately the weather allows for this, but I have my own rules I follow. I will not leave her in temps above 70 degrees...ever. We park only in safe areas, and will pay extra to parking lot attendants, and will also pay Valet Parking to leave the vehicle in front rather than park. We've made it work for us...and for our Weim. She is so much happier, and I don't think any less safe than being left alone at home. This would not work for a destructive dog, or for one who did not love being in the car. My biggest fear is the same as your friends....someone seeing her and deciding to "save" her.

Posted by: AlysaMom | January 26, 2017 10:20 AM    Report this comment

I own two Doberman Rescues. I only take them with me in good weather. I left my car windows opened, while I ran into the Post Office. When approaching my car I realized there was a man directly behind me. As I opened my car door, my dogs growled and he realized I had dobies. It was too close for comfort. Now when I go to the ATM I leave both doors open, just in case. I am now very aware of my surroundings. Food for thought

Posted by: Doby lover | January 26, 2017 10:17 AM    Report this comment

Well babies should never be left in the car, but I have seen teenagers sitting alone in the parking lot, hopefully with the car doors locked. I do leave my dog in the car in cool temperatures for a short period of time. He just curls up and sleeps. When I come back we go for a short walk and that exposes him to different environments. However everyone on the other side of the isle do make a solid argument with regard to safety in this crazy world. Well, no offense to anyone, it is lack of exercise that is the cause of obesity in dogs and not a few table scraps.

Posted by: aanchal | January 26, 2017 10:12 AM    Report this comment

I leave my dog in the car when out for various reasons. I am much too comfortable with doing this very dangerous thing. After having read all the opinions on leaving dogs unattended, I know that it is a very dangerous thing to do. She is much too valuable emotionally to me to ever cause her harm or loose her. I will no longer do it. I have, on occasions, called ahead to shops and offices, etc. to ask if my well-behaved medium size dog came come into their place with me.
Re: outside temperature: it is a fact that a car heats very, very quickly in temperatures above 65 degrees. The hotter it is the quicker the car hears. Leaving windows does not keep the car at a safe temperature. It takes moments, not a "few" minutes for a car, even with a window opened, to gear to dangerous temperature. Cold weather is also dangerous. Leaving the car running is not a good idea, either. That creates extreme cold.
And, of course there is always the issue of the dog being "accosted" by a or several people. People can be an a significant danger, also. They can do dangerous, even deadly things to un-attended dogs.
I will not be leaving my precious friend in danger again.
Also,

Posted by: Harrington | January 26, 2017 10:10 AM    Report this comment

I also live in the San Francisco Bay Area and don't dare leave my dog, no matter the weather, because of misguided Good Samaritans. The last time I dared, it was about 50 degrees out. I was gone less than 10 minutes and had a woman standing outside my car waiting to speak to me about endangering my dog. If I had to choose, I'd take the overzealous behavior of my neighborhood to people that would allow an animal to suffer but it is a bit much. Maybe I should create a heat sensitive sticker to put on the car window so both the owner and any passerby could know at a glance if the temperature in the car was safe or not.

Posted by: Beeker | January 26, 2017 10:07 AM    Report this comment

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Posted by: Kona12 | January 26, 2017 10:06 AM    Report this comment

Not unless Toffi is in constant view with adequate ventilation at all times. He watches for me and I watch him from any storefront I go into for a short spell.

Posted by: ToffiBeachBum | January 26, 2017 10:04 AM    Report this comment

I will occasionally leave my dog in the car--usually if we are a dog event where dogs are not allowed out except during their participation. I will park in shade, and I carry a reflective blanket to cover the car if there is a chance the shade will move while he is there. If I have to be where I can't see him, I will put him in a wire crate near me (and we have a reflective blanket for that, too, if there isn't enough shade. We travel with a Trans K9 crate secured in the cargo area and he rides there, with water available. But if I know I have to go into a store or other place he can't go, and I don't have a trusted friend or a family member along to stay in the car, he doesn't get to come along.

Posted by: AvidReader | January 26, 2017 10:01 AM    Report this comment

I take my dogs with me a lot no matter what time of year, but I have an extra car door key and always leave my car running with the appropriate temperature system running...A/C in summer, heat in winter and I put a piece of tissue in the vent so that a person could easily see that the fan is blowing and the dogs are comfortable. I never leave them very long, just a few minutes, but I have never had any complaints.

Posted by: RooneysMom2017 | January 26, 2017 9:57 AM    Report this comment

I take my dog with me most places I go. That means when it isn't too hot out she'll hang out in the car while I run errands. If it's on the warmer side I'll tie her up under a tree while I go in, or put her in her crate in the back of the pickup truck with the windows all open, in the shade, with the sun shield on. My house isn't air conditioned and it seems cruel to leave her bored and home alone too often.

As for the dog vs. baby... I wouldn't leave a kid alone in the other room all day while I worked, but I doubt anyone's going to complain if you do that to your dog. They require different levels of supervision that are totally orthogonal to temperature questions.

Posted by: jmink | January 26, 2017 9:57 AM    Report this comment

I sometimes stop at the shops on the way home from walking my dogs & so they stay in my car. I live on the coast so there's usually a sea breeze. When I do, I wind both back windows right down so that there can be no concern about the car getting too hot. I've never had a problem & feel comfortable about leaving them. Although they're golden retrievers one in particular is quite a resource guarder in the car & I have no doubt he would put off anyone showing interest in getting into the car. I think it all depends on the location & how long they will be staying there. Of course on very hot days (like today) I wouldn't leave them in the car.

Posted by: Grevillia | January 26, 2017 9:55 AM    Report this comment

Yes, I do leave my dogs in my van all the time weather permitting - but, my dogs are crated and my van has tinted windows, so a passerby would not even know my dogs were in there. I firmly believe that dogs should not ride loose in a vehicle for safety reasons, so I have crates in my van 100% of the time that are secured down. My van also has an alarm if someone were to try and get into it. I am not worried about leaving my dogs in my van at all.

Posted by: stardust | January 26, 2017 9:52 AM    Report this comment

Our previous two dogs loved going in the car with us, and my husband and I (both retired) would take them in cool weather if we weren't gone for more than an hour or two. One day, a woman pulled out in front of his Forester and it rolled over in a field and was totaled. Fortunately, no dogs were along that day. Both dogs (older) have since passed away from cancer and with the two new dogs, a rescue and a puppy, who are both crate trained at home, we've rethought it, and both dogs now ride in crates if they go along at all. We haven't had them in warmer weather, so for now someone always stays in the car with them while the other person shops or runs errands. Still love having them go with us.

Posted by: Countrydogs | January 26, 2017 9:45 AM    Report this comment

My dog loves to come with me and if the temperature is good he gets to come. He quietly people watches or curls up sleeping. I have never had anyone bother any of my dogs that I've had over the years. Since I work almost full time, bringing him with me is a way for us to be together on errands I need to run. I also enjoy taking him into dog friendly places.
Our dogs are not humans, and no, I wouldn't leave a child in a car...but yes my dog.

Posted by: joanne.c | January 26, 2017 9:43 AM    Report this comment

Maybe, if you can memorize this entire chart, you can leave your dog in the car.
How Long Does It Take For A Car to Get Hot?

OUTSIDE TEMPERATURE TEMPERATURE IN CAR TIME IT TAKES TO REACH
75 100 10 minutes
75 120 30 minutes
85 90 5 minutes
85 100 7-10 minutes
85 120 30 minutes
100 140 15 minutes

Every summer, animals left in unattended cars suffer brain damage and die from heatstroke:
On mild or cloudy days, with windows open, a parked vehicle quickly becomes a furnace.
If you think your companion is suffering from heatstroke, immediately remove him or her to a cool, shady area.
- Try to slowly lower the animal's temperature by placing in cool, not cold, water.
- Apply ice to the head and neck.
- Get to a veterinarian as soon as possible as follow-up care will be critical to his survival.
Your companions are as vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer as you are and may require sunscreen on their nose and
ears. Light-colored animals are particularly sensitive to the sun.
Take special precautions with old or overweight animals, or those with heart or lung diseases, in hot weather. Snub-nosed
dogs (bulldogs, Pekingese, Boston terriers, Lhasa apsos, Pugs, Shih Tzus, etc.) have compromised respiratory systems and
must be kept in air-conditioning.
Install shade blinds on car windows and never leave animals unattended. A car can quickly
become an oven. Also, animals left alone are vulnerable to theft.
Heat Stroke in Dogs/Cats
Stroke is a dangerous condition that takes the lives of many animals every year. A dog's normal body temp is 99.5~102.5degree.
At 105~106degree, the pet is at risk for developing heat exhaustion. If the body temperature rises to 107degree, your pet has
entered the critical zone of heat stroke. With heat stroke, irreversible damage and death can occur.
At Highest Risk: puppies to 6 months; older (large breeds 7+ years, small breeds 14+); short muzzle/snout;
snort/wide head; ill~overweight~over-exerted; black or thick coats; dehydrated; ANY existing medical conditions.
DANGER SIGNS: rapid panting - bright red tongue - red or pale gums - thick, sticky saliva
depression - weak/dizzy - vomiting/diarrhea - shock - coma
An overheating dog may appear sluggish, unresponsive or disorientated... probably panting hard.
Gums, tongue and conjunctiva of the eyes may be bright red. He may even start vomiting.
Eventually he will collapse, suffer a seizure and may go into a coma.
Car windows act to both absorb the sun's rays and insulate your vehicle: The inside of a car can heat up to 110
degrees Fahrenheit in only ten minutes on an 80degree day

Posted by: Kona12 | January 26, 2017 9:43 AM    Report this comment

This is a dilemma for me. I often travel about 200 miles and take me dog with me. I go to drive thru restaurants but occasionally need to use the restroom. I leave my dog in the car while I race in to use the facilities. I'm worried about lunatics breaking my window but can't think of another solution. My dog is well loved and taken care of

Posted by: Kalliekaykat | January 26, 2017 9:36 AM    Report this comment

To be honest, I am more concerned with you and your friend having a 30 pound Corky mix cleaning up the last bits of the burrito on your plates, then leaving the dog in the car in many places in Northern California. As the Whole Dog Journal has intoned on many occasions providing human food causes canine obesity (an epidemic) and feeding a dog at the table where you eat, bad canine manners.

That being said, your friends is correct - in todays cultural environment, I would never leave a dog unaccompanied in a car. My friend lost her 13 year old like Maltese in a convertible in Southern California when a person cut the top and grabbed the dog. The world as we know it has changed both for good and bad when it comes to dogs. Never leave a dog in a car alone in a public place. We are our dog's voice and caregiver.

Since most places now welcome or allow dogs, especially in the wake of the Americans With Disabilities Act's Special Accommodations provision that legitimizes the use of therapy dogs - there isn't the same need to keep a dog in a vehicle. In Southern California - we also hear stories everyday of dogs in distress in hot cars.

As with most things in life, we have trade-offs and are always silently wagering when taking or not taking actions. When considering the odds of this or that thing happening - I always look at the possible outcome. Unfortunately, in highly populated urban and suburban areas, I'd never err on leaving a dog unaccompanied in a vehicle. There are too many individuals with mental health issues or a lack of consciousness. In say a small farming community I might have a different take. But in the San Francisco Area, my dog would stay be my side, without exception.

Posted by: Banzini's Dad | January 26, 2017 9:35 AM    Report this comment

It depends on which dog I have with me, and the weather outside. My Rottie of course is sensitive to heat, so unless its in the 50s or below, he comes in with me. My little mutt will be left for very short periods. Example...this past Sunday I had to go to the office to get my laptop. Both dogs went with me. It was pretty cold so I left both in the car--wasn't in the office five minutes; enough to unlock the door, disarm the alarm, grab my laptop, activate the alarm and lock the door.
I do bring them both with me when I get gas, however, and they stay in the car then; but I'm right there the whole time. Best deterrent for any of those slider thieves...open the door and see a 100 pound rottie looking at them like "What?" while my little vicious mutt tears them a new one... :-D

Posted by: Mik1of3 | January 26, 2017 9:32 AM    Report this comment

Maybe you should just ask yourself, would you leave your baby in the vehicle unattended. I know dogs are not babies, but, what exactly is the difference?

Posted by: Kona12 | January 26, 2017 9:31 AM    Report this comment

I live in Canada -- where it used to be cold, but not this winter!
I agree with your friend -- people will walk by a homeless person who has no water but will call the police about your dog being in the car -- without knowing how long the dog has been there, regardless of the temperature. Everybody seems to know more about your dog than you do!
I would only leave my dog in the car in the winter i.e. 5 degrees celsius or less, and in areas where there are security cameras, a security guard, and lots of people about.
Its not worth the heartache -- they are better off at home although always in my thoughts.

Posted by: lakme | January 26, 2017 9:29 AM    Report this comment

I've left the dog for a minute or two but wouldn't do it for any longer. If we were talking about a child there wouldn't be a discussion, so why is it OK to leave a dog? There's just so many things that could go wrong and I feel that any that can be prevented by a simple action should. I wouldn't bother someone else who left a dog for a few minutes in comfortable temperatures, but I will admit to approaching someone who left their dog for well over 15 minutes in 80 degree weather in front of my door. She probably thinks I'm one of those 'crazies' but I was just about ready to call the police and would have sooner if the dog had appeared stressed.

Posted by: DebbieJRT | January 26, 2017 9:29 AM    Report this comment

I rarely comment on articles. However, these comments just send me through the roof. MISGUIDED GOOD SAMARITANS, really, do you know how many dogs I see in a hot car , am I supposed to ignore it and just walk by?? This is what you want, or am I supposed to watch and waste my time to see if the owner shows up or exactly how long would you like me to wait? Or what exactly did you want this MISGUIDED GOOD SAMARITAN to do? Please let me know. Also, I used to leave the vehicle running, while locked with an extra key, until, my friend had a circuit breaker break doing the exact same thing and his dog died while he was in shopping. The lady in this article is RIGHT ON, I have also left notes (on the very rare occasion) that I left my dog in the vehicle unattended, stating the air was on, the vehicle locked, with my phone number. Signed, MISGUIDED GOOD SAMARITAN - dammed if you do, dammed if you don't

Posted by: Kona12 | January 26, 2017 9:27 AM    Report this comment

My situation is similar to Nancy's. I live in a Tennessee town of 10,000 where many businesses are happy to have you come in with your dog(s) in tow. In the cool weather, especially if the day is overcast I'm likely to bring my two Keeshonds along for company. I might have errands that involve the drive-thru: the bank, Walgreen's, etc., in which case they get cookies from the employee's manning the windows. I might run in somewhere the dogs are not appropriate to pay a bill, drop something off, quickly make a purchase, etc., an errand of no more than five minutes. My dogs are very well behaved and when left in the car alone simply curl up on the seats and sleep waiting for me to return. Being Keeshonds they would alert loudly if someone other than Mom approached the car to peer in, jiggle the door, but most of the time you'd never know that dogs were inside. Even so, I never leave them for more than the quickest of errands, and only in the cool weather, and only in my small town. If I still lived in Memphis I would never leave my dogs in the car, ever. Too big a town, too many people, too unpredictable an outcome. You're sort of asking for something to happen to your animals, and at the least might get a scolding from an animal lover in an adjacent store front. My dogs are both young and have never gone on an extended car trip--three hours at the most so far. I suppose I'll need a plan B in place when I need to eat or "rest." But they're both great little travelers, love riding in the car and I love taking them places. I've even been known to call ahead when I'm shopping out of town to see if the manager will let me bring my "well-behaved" dogs in with me. It's surprising how many say yes.

Posted by: REW | January 26, 2017 9:27 AM    Report this comment

My dogs come in the car all the time. When I'm shopping in the summer I park on the top level of a car park, under a shady roof on legs. As we're by the sea there's always a breeze. With the wind blowing through windows left ajar, they're never in danger of overheating.

Posted by: Jorja | January 26, 2017 9:25 AM    Report this comment

I frequently travel alone with one of my dogs (sometimes both, but usually just one). We take agility classes and go to trials and fun matches. Sometimes those places are an hour or two away. Sometimes they don't have a bathroom. I quite frequently leave my dog in the car to run into a convenience store to go to the bathroom. I can't take him with me so what else can I do? This DOES include in hot or cold weather. In those cases, I have two keys. I leave the car running with the AC or heat on and lock it with the other set of keys. The dog is safe and comfortable and I'm gone just a few minutes. Do I worry about some loonies breaking my window? Sometimes. But I hope that I'm not gone long enough for someone to even contemplate that.

I HAVE left my dogs in the car for short times on nice days to run into the grocery store on the way back. If I just need to pick up one or two items and will probably be gone 10 minutes I have no issues with it.

I think people have gone WAY overboard with the "never leave your dog in a car" thing. I've had people threaten me online when I say I leave them for a few minutes to go to the bathroom.

Posted by: Crysania | January 26, 2017 9:23 AM    Report this comment

I live in France, so the attitudes may be different. But I bring one of my BCs with me in the car frequently. She's perfectly content to wait for me and I can't imagine someone here breaking into a car to steal a dog left there on a day with clement weather.

Posted by: Rloff | January 26, 2017 9:22 AM    Report this comment

We have 4 fur kids and don't leave them in the car. I'm not saying I'm opposed to it in appropriate conditions but dogs being dogs, the unexpected can happen. They can be taken, misguided well meaning people could break in, they can be teased or they could get bored and get into the seat foam, etc. I guess I just don't want to take a chance and cast a bet on my dog's good behavior by wagering her health.

Posted by: RescueRon | January 26, 2017 9:21 AM    Report this comment

my rescue absolutely adores being in the car, so much so that I often leave her in the car after our errands/walks/visit to the park - door open, with access to the yard - where she takes her nap.

Posted by: kelev52 | January 26, 2017 9:18 AM    Report this comment

My dogs are rescues & get too stressed out in the car, beside all the crazies out there. We live in Florida & never cool enough. If you leave the window cracked the dogs get stolen. A neighbor of mine had a party & kept her dog in the car, barking, for 4 hours - I even offered to keep him in my yard with my dogs, but they said he would be to stressed. Go figure. I don't think it's ever OK. Leave them home where they are cool, safe & secure.

Posted by: suannm@aol.com | January 26, 2017 9:17 AM    Report this comment

Yes I agree , I have dogs , and they are fine in the truck , the problem is the bizarre people that see them in the truck. I stopped leaving them in my truck because I simply did not want to come out and see a smashed window and a bunch of idiots standing around with my dogs or worse yet , a smashed window and no dogs or people or note. I live in East Coast Canada , weather is not usually a problem (except in midsummer and I definitely leave them all home then) but PEOPLE ARE A PROBLEM as they all have their own idea of what is okay......

Posted by: keile | January 26, 2017 9:15 AM    Report this comment

Our lurcher bitch comes with me everywhere in the car. She has her own lovely bed there and loves to be with me in our hours of driving. In warm days we find shade and she is trained to stay in the car, so open windows for the breezes. In the winter we bring her if the weather isn't deathly cold. And we never leave her in the car for more than an hour or so. I've only had kind things said by strangers, and because of my age, I feel that I see the world in a less paranoid and scary place than younger folk.

Posted by: ohssuz | January 26, 2017 9:11 AM    Report this comment

I live in the desert Southwest and it is almost always too hot to leave a dog in the car. But yesterday's high temperature was in the 50's and I had to drop off some paperwork at my Doctor's. My dog was with me and this is the first time I left any of my dogs unattended in the car although it was only for a few minutes and I kept looking through the office windows to check on him. Definitely, this should not be done when it is warm but I also agree, most times I would worry about someone breaking in an stealing him as he is an absolutely stunning doberman and extremely friendly. I was also a little worried if he would be destructive being left alone in the car but he was fine.

Posted by: Holly M | January 26, 2017 9:03 AM    Report this comment

My dogs stay home. The older one has arthritis in her left elbow so would rather stay home, anyway. The only time I do leave either dog in the car is when I'm at the vet's office - I put them in the car with the windows cracked for air and then go back inside just long enough to pay the bill.

I can definitely understand your friend's anxiety about leaving her dog in the car. As the first commenter said, "too many crazies out there...."

Posted by: SJO | January 26, 2017 8:56 AM    Report this comment

I would never leave my dog(s) in the car unless I could have straight vision to them. I would sit at a window table to eat if the car was parked in front of the window. I would never leave them any place that I would not leave a bag of my life savings in cash. There are creeps everywhere--steal dogs to get a reward, steal dogs for meanness, dog fighting, whatever. I can lock my dogs in the car with the ac on by using a valet key, but the real problem is people.

Posted by: Lambchop | January 26, 2017 8:52 AM    Report this comment

I used to if the weather was perfect, under a tree (so the car couldn't heat up), and only for a minute or two, but I don't anymore. Too many crazies out there and misguided good samaritans that might break the window to "rescue" my dog. He goes with me.

Posted by: Jackson Mom | January 26, 2017 8:46 AM    Report this comment

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