Dog in car
It's dangerous to leave your pup in a hot car, and it's also against the law in Massachusetts. Photo: Pexels

As temperatures climb this week, with Boston hitting over 90 degrees on Thursday, the Animal Rescue League is reminding pet owners that leaving a dog in a hot car is both unsafe and against the law in Massachusetts.

The commonsense practice became an official law last August and now allows for civil fines ranging from $50 to $500, along with possible impoundment or loss of ownership of the dog.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston has dubbed the law “Too Hot for Spot,” and is reminding residents why it’s necessary.

“Remember, pets don’t sweat like humans do and cannot cool their bodies efficiently in hot temperatures,” ARL said in a statement. “Even with outside temperatures around 70 degrees, the interior of a car can heat up to well over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes – even with the windows cracked!”

This law also allows the public to intervene, so if someone sees Spot baking in the sun while in your car, they could try to break him free — but only after that person has attempted to find the owner and notify law enforcement first.


To help cool your pooch, ARL says, “hydration is key,” so make sure your pup has plenty of cold water. Limit their exercise to the morning or evening hours when temps are at their lowest and if outdoors, find a shady spot to prevent overheating. If indoors, make sure your four-legged friend is in a cool room where the humidity and temperature are controlled, ARL advises.

The MSPCA Angell also reminded residents that pets are even more susceptible to heat in the early spring — this time of the year often mean having to treat more heat strokes at the Angell Animal Medical Center, the organization said online.

The signs of heat stroke in an animal include excessive panting, vomiting, tiring easily, diminished appetite and lethargy, according to the MSPCA. If your pet shows these symptoms, contact your vet as soon as possible because heat stroke can be fatal.

Along with walking your dog earlier or later in the day, the MSPCA advises that your walk your pets on softer ground like dirt or grass, because hot blacktops and cement sidewalks can burn their paws.

And as much as you may want to bring your furry bud to the beach or the park, it may not be the best idea, according to the MSPCA, if there’s not enough shade or access to water.

Check here for more heat safety tips for your four-legged friends. 

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