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No dogs in hot cars: California puts warning in driver manual

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, August 26th, 2010 at 6:31 am in dogs, Hot Cars.

Photo by Flickr user Rhian vK used under a Creative Commons License.
Dogs Die in Hot Cars

The following is particularly important because of the recent heat wave in our area. Please don’t leave dogs (or children) in the car … even for “just a minute!” They could be dead when you get back. /Gary

California first state to include warning in driver manual about the dangers hot cars present to dogs

United Animal Nations (UAN) commends California State Assemblymember Anthony Portantino (La Cañada Flintridge) and California Department of Motor Vehicles Director George Valverde for working together to place an advisory in the California Driver Handbook about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars.

“Every summer countless dogs become seriously ill and even die because their owners simply do not know the dangers of leaving them in enclosed vehicles,” said UAN president and CEO Nicole Forsyth. “Thanks to the leadership of Assemblymember Portantino, motorists will now be informed of this serious pet safety hazard, and no doubt many animal lives will be saved.”

Dog in hot car. Photo by Flickr user Just Chaos used under a Creative Commons License
What not to do

After one of his constituents suggested adding the language to the driver manual, Assemblymember Portantino contacted Valverde to promote the idea. California will become the first state to add language about animal safety to its driver handbook. According to Assemblymember Portantino, the 2011 handbook will warn California drivers that it is against the law to leave an animal in a vehicle in unsafe conditions. If the animal is injured or killed, the owner could face up to $500 in fines, six months in jail or both.

UAN operates the My Dog is Cool Campaign to educate pet owners about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars. Even on seemingly mild days, an enclosed car can be deadly. In a Stanford University study, when it was 72 degrees outside, a car’s internal temperature climbed to 116 degrees within one hour. A dog’s normal body temperature is between 101 to 102.5 degrees; a dog can only withstand a high body temperature for a short time before suffering nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage or even death. Studies show that cracking the windows has little effect on a vehicle’s internal temperature.

Learn more about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars and download educational materials at

Founded in 1987, United Animal Nations focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the bond between people and animals through a variety of programs, including emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education. More at

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