Dogs In Hot Cars: Not All Can Honk For Help

WFMZ Image

Next time you hear a car honk, look closely.  It may be a dog trapped in a hot car pleading for help.  Sounds bizarre, but it happened over the weekend in Pennsylvannia.  A lab named Max took matters into his own paws to escape a scorching situation.  Here’s the story from WFMZ in Allentown.

Unfortunately, many people leave their pets in hot cars and very few animals can honk the horn for help.  Over the weekend I came across a similar situation in a Walmart parking lot.  Actually, it was my wife who spotted a woman who had just walked into the store after leaving her little dog in the car (that’s him to the right).  I snapped a picture from my cell phone.  As you can see the window was rolled down a couple inches, but still it had to be hot in there.  And the car was in the sun.  I glanced at the temperature gauge in my car, and it was 96 degrees outside.

Maybe the dog’s owner planned to get just a couple of items, and run in and out in a couple minutes.  But if you’ve ever been to a store like Walmart,  a couple of items can turn into a cart full, and a couple minutes at least a half hour.  Anyway, while I was snapping the photo, my wife alerted the Walmart greeter, and as we were leaving, he was walking out to the car.

On its web site ASPCA’s Dr. Louise Murray says, “On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time – even with the windows open – which could lead to fatal heat stroke.”

I came across another web site specifically to help people save dogs from dying in hot cars.  At, you can find out how quickly cars heat up in warm weather.  For example, if the outside temp is 95 degrees and a window is cracked open (close to above incident), it’s 113 degrees in the car.

After leaving Walmart I debated whether I did enough to help that dog. says if you see a pet in a vehicle on a hot day :

  • Note the car make, model, color and tag number, take immediate action.
  • Call the police, which usually can respond much faster than can animal control departments.  The police have the capability to enter the vehicle and rescue the pet.

I called Walmart today to check what happened, and was relieved to hear the store had paged the owner, and the dog is okay.

Don’t count on your dog being as smart or lucky as Max,  the “honking” lab.

2 Comments on “Dogs In Hot Cars: Not All Can Honk For Help

  1. Thank you so much for posting this! I am shocked and appalled at all the times I see dogs left, helplessly, in cars in the heat of summer. Not every dog can honk a horn for help, and so many of these pets become very ill or die unnecessarily. I am glad that you included the steps to follow the next time someone sees a dog inside a parked car on a hot day; I will definitely be following those. And BTW – it’s not just a hot day, I believe it is cruel to leave a dog inside a parked car on any day… If you are going somewhere the dog cannot, better to leave your dog at home.

    • Good advice. Our pets are much safer at home than in the car, no matter the temperature. Many dog owners (myself included) sometimes think our pets can’t live without us, even for a short shopping trip.

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