Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Perils Of Leaving Your Dog In The Car

With summer just a couple of months away, I'm taking my dogs more and more in the car with me. Some days, we'll go to the Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru. Other days, we'll go to the forest preserve or the park. It's really easy to combine a ride in the car with an errand you need to run. Maybe you want to pick up something from the grocery store, maybe you need to go to the dry cleaners or maybe you're going in for some food you're going to pick up.

I know I have asked myself, what could possibly happen in five minutes? Still, I think a person really does not want that question answered. Even on a 70°F (21°C) day, just a few minutes in the car will make a dog uncomfortable and overheated.

So what can you do instead?
  • If you're going on long rides with them, make sure that you stop enough for potty breaks. Carry a travel water bowl for water breaks.
  • Try walking instead of driving. Need to go to the grocery store? Visit your farmer's market instead.
  • Take them to dog-friendly places. Many restaurants have outdoor cafes in the summertime, where they will allow dogs to sit outside on the pavement. Stores such as PetSmart or Petco will allow your dog to accompany you.
  • Use a travel crate or a doggie tote. I used to work at a shopping mall. It was a high-profile mall that catered to its customers. I asked the General Manager of the mall if I could bring my dog in the mall with me--although this was on Take Your Dog To Work Day-- and I was told that I could as long as the dog was contained. Cookie was the type of dog who fit into this oversized tote bag I had at home. She liked that much better than being in a crate. Still, it worked out because as long as she was by me, she was happy. However it's important that you check beforehand with the destination to see if they allow contained animals.
  • Walk with them and tie them outside while your are inside. This is not the best idea though. First, you have to find an area to tie them up. Second, you need to tie them up so the dog is not in the sun. Third, you never know if someone can walk up and walk away from your dog. Therefore, if you are going to consider this option, it may be better to forgo it after all.

Let's Discuss!

Do you ever take your dogs on errands with you? How do you handle that?

Thank you all for stopping in. I hope you have a great day.


  1. Because at least one of my dogs goes with me pretty much every day to go on the daily walks I do with clients' dogs I almost always have a dog in the car with me. My solution for running errands if it is over 70 degrees is to park in the shade, dogs in wire crates with all windows down and with plenty of fresh, cool water, fans are attached to the crates and I set the alarm on my phone for 5 minutes knowing that at that moment I MUST get to the check out line!!!! Unfortunately, we've already had several days hit 80 degrees already which does NOT bode well for the rest of the summer. If it is over 85 I just do not leave the dogs in the car.

  2. That seems like a good compromise, especially if you have been working with client's dogs. It sounds like a tricky balance for you. Thanks for writing.



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