Last summer, a beach-goer took a video of a distressed dog trapped in a hot car in Grand Bend. The video went viral across social media and, understandably, dog lovers everywhere were enraged by the poor pup’s situation. It’s easy to assume that the person responsible was a “bad owner,” but that’s very rarely the case. Almost every time there’s a heat-related fatality or injury to an animal, it’s because a well-meaning owner underestimated the weather and lost track of time.

The internal temperature of a car can quickly reach fatal levels even on a 15°C day, and cracked windows don’t provide enough air flow to make a difference. Even a mild April afternoon can be dangerous. Dogs don’t produce sweat the same way that humans do and mostly rely on breathing cool air to regulate their temperatures. When only warm or hot air is available in a car, it damages their cardiovascular systems, ultimately leaving them dehydrated, comatose or worse.

This means that it’s impossible to tell if the weather is ever “safe” to leave your pet in a car. Spring is a great time to enjoy hikes and dog parks with your pup, but a simple stop at the grocery store on the way home could mean disaster for your furry family member. By always making it a priority to leave your dog at home and encouraging others to do the same, you could save a life.

If you find an animal in distress, act quickly. Call 911 or the local Humane Society, who are authorized to break the window to perform a rescue. Also record a description of the car and approach surrounding businesses to see if an owner can be found, then provide the pet with water immediately.

Our loyal companions rely on us to protect them and weather-related harm is completely preventable. Unfortunately, many good pet owners just don’t understand the risks. If pet owners everywhere pledge to never leave their dogs unattended in parked vehicles, we just may be able to avoid this type of “viral video” for 2017.

Dr. I. Wonder is here to answer your questions regarding your furry family members. If you have a question, email it to us at  Our team at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic will tap into their collective experience to answer your various questions.