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Dogs in Hot Cars

Never leave a dog (or any animal) in a hot car. Leaving a dog in a car for “just a minute” may be too long.


  • On a warm day, the temperature inside of a vehicle can reach 120°F in a matter of minutes – even with the windows cracked.
  • Because dogs don’t sweat, they can’t cool themselves. Their body temperature can rise quickly and they could suffer brain damage, organ damage, or even die from heatstroke or suffocation.


  • If you see a dog in a hot car, check for signs of stress - heavy panting, glazed eyes, unsteadiness, vomiting, or a dark tongue.
  • If animal is showing signs of stress, call 3-1-1 and request to immediately be connected to Denver Animal Protection regarding a dog in a hot car.
  • If animal is not showing signs of stress, call 3-1-1 to report the dog in the hot vehicle.
  • When reporting, include: vehicle make, model, color, license plate, and length of time at location. Provide the pet’s description including breed, size, and color. Include owner’s description and location, if known.

Leaving an animal in a hot vehicle constitutes animal cruelty (per Sec. 8-131 of the Denver County Ordinance) & could result in a fine of up to $999 and/or 1 year in jail.

If your pet must be removed from your vehicle, your window may be broken, your vehicle could be towed, and you could be responsible for emergency medical costs for your pet – in addition to a mandatory court appearance for animal cruelty.

Additional Resources

Do you want to help spread the word about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars? Download the Denver Dogs in Hot Cars informational flyer in English or Spanish.

If you're looking for a visual graphic to share with your friends and colleagues, print a copy of our Dogs in Hot Cars poster

Our Dogs in Hot Cars program is adapted from the national My Dog is Cool campaign created by the group RedRover. For more information about this campaign visit


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