What to do If you See a Dog in a Hot Car

3 minutes
Apr 12, 2022

Many people may not be sure what to do in the event that they see a dog locked in a car in sweltering summer temperatures. Breaking the window could lead to criminal prosecution in some cases, but leaving the dog to succumb to heat stroke is not an option. Here’s what how to responsibly respond if you see a dog in a hot car this summer.

Call Local Police

The first thing you should do is call local law enforcement or 911 and inform them of the situation. Even if they can’t send an officer right away, informing them that you’ve found a dog trapped in a hot car establishes a record of communication and due process that may help your case in the event of a lawsuit (remember, we’re not lawyers, so we’re not offering legal advice, just relating what we’ve observed in similar situations).

Check for Signs of Heatstroke

Inform the police or 911 dispatcher of any signs that the dog may be experiencing heat stroke. These symptoms may include:

  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of coordination’
  • Vomiting
  • Unconsciousness

If Safe, Try to Find the Car’s Owner

Don’t leave the site of the vehicle, but make an attempt to find the car’s owner. If the car is parked in a commercial parking lot, send a friend or passerby into the store to ask the store manager to announce a description of the vehicle. If you cannot locate the car’s owner and the dog’s condition continues to deteriorate, you may need to consider doing something to help.

Protect your Dogs 

Coverage in 3 Easy Steps

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.