Dangers Of Leaving Cats And Dogs In Cars Or Outdoors For Too Long In The Heat Of Summer!!

Dangers Of Leaving Cats And Dogs In Cars Or Outdoors For Too Long In The Heat Of Summer!!

Written for Your Best Friend Pet Boutique by Dr. Abdul Basit Javed (DVM, RVMP) 

Summer is a great time to enjoy picnics, watersports, and outdoors but it can be a dangerous time for the pets if proper care is not provided by the owners.

In general, leaving pets in cars or outside for too long in the heat of summer can be life-threatening for them. Pets can suffer from heatstroke, dehydration, sunburn, and other complications if they are not provided the right care during the summer season.

As a pet owner, you must follow all the precautions and provide proper care to your cats and dogs during hot summer days. This article is comprehensive and put together by a small animal veterinarian on risks associated with leaving pets in cars or outside for too long in the heat of summer, so read on. 

Dangers Of Leaving Cats And Dogs In Cars Or Outdoors In The Summer

Following are some of the most common dangers of leaving cats and dogs in cars or outside for too long in the heat of summer:


The most serious danger of leaving cats and dogs in cars or outside during the summer heat is heatstroke. Heatstroke, also known as heat stress, is a hyperthermic condition in which the internal body temperature rises over the normal range due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures.

Many pet owners misjudge the risk of heatstroke because they believe it is a minor condition and that the pet will recover quickly. However, heatstroke can be fatal in cats and dogs if medical treatment is not provided promptly.

Heatstroke usually happens when the body's regular cooling mechanisms, such as sweating, fail to keep the internal body temperature within a safe range because of overheating. Young, obese, and old dogs and cats are particularly susceptible to heatstroke.

Dog breeds that have flat faces and short muzzles known as “brachycephalic breeds” are at the utmost risk of heatstroke and those who have thick dark coats. Even if you have slightly opened the window of your car, the temperature inside can still get extremely hot for your pet.

If it is 70 degrees Fahrenheit, outside the inside temperature of the car can be as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and it only takes 30 minutes for the inside temperature of the car to jump from 85 degrees to a blistering 120 degrees in summer, which can be fatal for the pets.

On hot summer days, shady spots provide little protection to pets because the air becomes hot and shade shifts with the sun, so it is better not to leave your cat or dog in the car or outside even for a brief period of time.

Burnt Paw Pads

Burnt paw pads are another common risk associated with leaving pets outside during hot summer days.

Both dogs and cats have paw pads, which are specialized skin structures that help with pressure distribution and maintain a barrier between the paw and the ground while walking.

However, if a dog or cat walks on heated concrete pavements or roadways, the paw pads can become burned, resulting in blisters that can become infected and painful if not treated.

Some of the signs of burnt paw pads in pets include lameness, licking paws, abnormal gait, and vocalization while walking.


If a cat or dog is left outside or in a car during a hot summer day with no access to water it can quickly become dehydrated.

Dehydration can be deadly for a pet and can lead to serious complications. It is recommended to always carry cool and clean drinking water for your pets on hot summer days and offer them water after every few hours so they remain hydrated.


Cats and dogs particularly those which have light-colored fur can get sunburned if left outside in the sun during summer. Hairless or exposed areas of a pet’s body such as the muzzle, ears, and belly are also at high risk of sunburn.

Sunburn can be a painful and uncomfortable condition for pets and prolonged exposure to sunlight on hot summer days on a frequent basis can increase the incidence of skin cancer in pets.

Risk of Parasites

If you leave your cat or dog outside or in a car during the summer, there is an increased possibility of parasitic or pest infestation as most parasites such as ticks, mites, fleas, etc are most active at this time of the year.

Your pet is particularly susceptible to parasites if you leave it in a wooded area with a lot of grasses and plants. It is not advised to keep pets outside during this time of year, and if you have to, make sure to administer preventive parasite drugs and take other precautions.

Risk of toxicity

Summer is when most crops are grown, thus there is increased usage of fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides, making it unsafe for cats and dogs to be outside at this time. If your pet consumes anything that has been contaminated with chemicals, it can suffer from toxicity.

Accidents and injuries

Leaving dogs and cats in cars or outside in the heat of summer is dangerous since it increases the likelihood of accidents and injuries.


Your pet may attempt to escape the car if it becomes too hot, which could result in injury, or when outside, pets can get into road accidents while in search of a cool shady place.

Signs Of Heatstroke In Pets

Following are some of the most common signs of heatstroke in pets:

  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Bright red tongue
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Bright red or pale gums and eye membranes
  • Muscles tremors
  • Collapsing

Cat Breeds Prone To Heatstroke

Following are the cat breeds that are highly prone to heatstroke:

  • Persians
  • Himalayan
  • British Shorthair
  • Scottish Folds

Dog Breeds Prone To Heatstroke

Following are the dog breeds that are highly prone to heatstroke:

  • Bulldogs
  • Pugs
  • Shih Tzus
  • Siberian Husky
  • Malamutes
  • Samoyeds


      1.Do cats get heatstroke too? (n.d.). https://www.thelondoncatclinic.co.uk/news/do-cats-get-heatstroke-too

      2.Dogs In Hot Cars and Other Summer Dangers. (2018, July 12). ASPCA. https://www.aspca.org/news/dogs-hot-cars-and-other-summer-dangers

      3.PetMD Editorial. (2022). Paw pad burns on dogs: What to do. PetMD. https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/paw-pad-burns-dogs-what-do

      4.The Dangers Of Leaving Dogs In Cars. (2020, August 3). HSNT.      https://www.hsnt.org/post/the-dangers-of-leaving-dogs-in-cars



Back to blog