My Dog is Cool: A Cool Campaign about Not Leaving Dogs in Hot Cars

by Amanda Newsom

As I was leaving a store recently, I noticed a car in the back of the parking lot with its windows cracked and two large dogs sitting on the front seats inside. The weather that day was in the mid to high 70s and sunny, so after just a few minutes of being in the store, my car was already pretty toasty. Seeing the dog was a reminder of the My Dog Is Cool campaign. Their vision is “a country where every dog is a cool dog. Where people keep their dogs out of harm’s way by not leaving them in a hot car, even for a few minutes.” They have a great website with information about the seriousness of leaving your dog in the car when it’s hot outside.

According to My Dog Is Cool, “a little heat outside a car can quickly make it very hot inside. On a summer’s day of only 85 degrees Fahrenheit, for example, even keeping the windows slightly open won’t stop the inside temperature from climbing to 102 degrees in 10 minutes, and to 120 degrees in 20 minutes. A dog whose body temperature rises to 107 to 108 degrees will within a very short time suffer irreparable brain damage—or even death.”

The site has flyers and brochures, and you can print or order them to keep in your car during the spring and summer (and sometimes fall!) months. If a dog is not in immediate distress, you can put a brochure on the windshield of the car with dogs in them on hot days. It may sound a bit invasive to do this, but owners may genuinely not realize the seriousness of leaving their companions is the car for what seems to only be a few minutes with the windows cracked for a quick errand.

“If you see a dog in distress in a hot car, call the local animal control agency, police or 911 right away. If possible, you can also try to find the dog’s owner.”

Signs an animal is in distress include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Trouble breathing
  • Disorientation
  • Collapse or loss of consciousness
  • Seizure
  • Respiratory arrest 

Remember to think twice before loading up your car and your pet for a trip around town—be sure your dog’s safety is a priority, even if they’ll be bummed about staying home for the day. And if it’s a good day to get your dog out, don’t forget to bring along plenty of water (and a bowl) to keep them hydrated!

If you would like more information about the My Dog is Cool campaign or want to print or order some of their materials, please visit