It’s Hot! Here is How You Can Help Dogs in Hot Cars This Summer

As the temperature rises, the danger it can pose to pets goes up too. If you see dogs in hot cars this summer, don’t panic. There are things you can do to help!

A red outlined white box has a dog looking up from the right side of the image. On the left side is a list of temperatures outside, and how hot it gets after 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and 40 minutes. When it is 70 degrees Fahrenheit outside, it will become 89 degrees after 10 minutes, 99 degrees after 20 minutes, up to 108 degrees after 40 minutes. More extreme, if it is 95 degrees outside, it will ecome 114 degrees after 10 minutes, 124 degrees after 20 minutes, 129 degrees after 30 minutes, and 133 degrees after 40 minutes.

Why is it dangerous?

To begin, let’s look at why hot cars are so dangerous for dogs. First, is to understand just how hot it actually gets inside a car during the summer. When it is a nice, sunny, 75 degree day here in Minnesota, a car can get up to temperatures as high as 113 degrees! On an especially hot day, where it is 90 degrees out, it can get up to 128 degrees inside of a car!

This extreme heat is already very hot for us, and when you add fur on top of it with a dog, it gets even worse. The high temperatures put dogs at risk of developing heat related conditions, such as heat stroke. Some breeds, such as those that are flat faced, are at even higher risk of this.

Signs of Heatstroke

  • Heavy panting 
  • Restlessness/anxiety 
  • Clawing at the window 
  • Trembling 
  • Collapse
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Disorientation
  • Vomiting 
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Seizures 

What should you do?

If you see a dog inside a hot car, no matter how long it has been, you need to take action right away. Time is extremely critical for getting the dog out of the car.

  1. First thing to do is call 9-1-1. In Minnesota, the police have the ability to assess if force is needed to get a dog out of a hot car, so you will need their assistance if it becomes necessary to break the dog out of the vehicle.
  2. The next step is to find the owner. If there is a business nearby, notify them and ask the to us their loud speaker to request the owner immediately. Best case scenario, the owner is near by and can help get the dog out of the vehicle immediately. Inform them of their pets condition, and your concern for the pets safety.

    Don’t try to lecture them or ridicule their decision to leave their dog in the car. It can be frustrating to deal with an owner who left their dog in a dangerous situation, but its important to protect yourself too. Keep the focus on saving the pet to minimize the chance of confrontation or fall out after the situation is resolved.

What can Law Enforcement Do?

The next step is understanding Minnesota laws. In Minnesota, there are several laws and statutes that cover leaving an animal inside a car (Minnesota Statute 346.57) by classifying it as endangering an animals health or safety. When the police arrive, the officers will be able to determine if a law was broken, and the repercussions from there.

If it is determined that the dog is in danger of overheating and heat stroke, than the officer may decide force is necessary to remove the dog from the car. From there, police will begin working to care for the dog, and you can offer assistance if they need it.

The police will focus on cooling the dog down slowly by:

  • Moving pet to a shaded area where it will be cooler temperatures
  • Offering fresh water (but not forcing the pet to drink) 
  • Drenching the pet in lukewarm water
    • This should not be cold water
    • Cold water constricts blood vessels in the skin and slows the body’s ability to cool itself 
  • Apply wet rags under the dogs arms, on their stomach, and on their neck
  • Placing the pet in their vehicle with the A/C on
  • Bringing the pet to a nearby animal emergency hospital
    • There, the pet can receive IV fluids and further cooling measures 

A second officer, if present, may begin their investigation, including trying to find the owner, talking to you as the caller, talk to other witnesses, and so on. This is to determine what laws, if any, have been broken.

Three dogs are shown side by side, panting. They have red fur tone and are outside. The background is filled with greenery.

    Stay informed

    Overall, the best thing you can do for a dog, or any pet for that matter, left in a car is call for help. Stay informed as laws develop and change on the topic, and be ready to stick around to help the police once they have arrived. You can also help by educating people you know about the dangers of leaving their dog in their car.

    For more information on the dangers of hot cars, you can check out this article by The Humane Society of the United States. For a tasty way to keep your dog cool this summer, check out our blog on Summer Dog Treats!

    Disclaimer: This written content is meant to be educational and is not medical advice. Always consult a veterinarian about medical advice for your pet.

    April: Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs Month

    As temperatures rise, we will see more and more activity from bugs and creepy crawlies. This means your dog’s risk of contracting preventable illnesses will increase too! Lyme, and several other illnesses, are carried by ticks and spread through their bite. While ticks are out year round, the spring and summer see a significant increase in their numbers. That is why April is a great time to discuss the hazards of Lyme, and ways to protect your pet!

    A close up shot of three different tick species resting on a large leaf.

    Where Do Dogs Get Lyme?

    Lyme Disease in Minnesota is a well known risk for both people and dogs alike. According to The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), there have been over 109 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Sherburne County alone, and 4,189 cases across Minnesota in the first few months of 2024. 

    The risk is very present, and those numbers are, unfortunately, expected to rise. Ticks are typically found in environments with heavy vegetation, like forests or grassy areas, like when you go hiking or camping. However, they can also be found in your own back yards. They are also common near bodies of water or in marshy areas.

    Symptoms of Lyme Disease and Treatment

    If you are worried your pet is getting ill, here are some common symptoms associated with lyme:

    • Limping that starts and stops again
    • Less interest in eating or complete loss of appetite
    • Decreased activity, laying around often
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Painful and swollen joints
    • Fever

    Call your veterinarian right away to discuss the symptoms and risk factors your pet has for Lyme, including their exposure to ticks and their symptoms. To diagnose your pet, the veterinarian will want to run lab tests to rule out other illnesses and to confirm the Lyme diagnosis.

    Once diagnosed, they will begin a course of antibiotics to fight back against the illness. This can take a month or longer to resolve itself.

    Preventing Lyme Disease

    The best way to avoid your pet getting sick is to be proactive in protecting them. A reliable tick-preventative product recommended by your veterinarian, as well as vaccination, are the strongest protections for your dog.

    Additionally, you can also:

    • Mow your grass, trim bushes, and remove unnecessary brush piles to make your yard less friendly to ticks.
    • Inspect your pet when coming in from outdoor activities. Check their bodies over, including particularly tick-favored spots such as ears, legs, tails, and under their collar. Remove ticks you find immediately, wrapping them in tape or flushing them to dispose of them.

    If you do find a tick on you or your pet, be sure to get checked for Lyme disease to be on the safe side. It can take 3 to 4 weeks before symptoms start.

    Talk to your veterinarian today about prevention options.

    To learn more about Lyme Disease, you can also visit another of our blogs on Lyme disease Prevention.

    Disclaimer: This written content is meant to be educational and is not medical advice. Always consult a veterinarian about medical advice for your pet.

    Improving your Pets Lifespan

    By Dr. Maria Krenz, DVM – Zimmvet (763)856-4848

    Advances in medical technology and preventative care are allowing pets to live longer, happier lives.  It is not uncommon for cats to reach 20 plus years of age, and small dogs to live 14-16 years.  More often pets are seen as a family member and people are looking for ways to spend as much time as possible with their beloved pets.  Owners can improve their pet’s lifespan and quality of life with a few simple care guidelines. Improving your pets lifespan.

    Weight Management – Add 2 years of life!?

    Extensive research has been performed to evaluate the effects of obesity on lifespan and medical conditions, such as arthritis.  Data shows that an ideal weight pet will live on average two years longer as compared to its obese littermate.  Since pet owner’s control their cat or dog’s feedings, lifespan is directly influenced by an owner’s ability to regulate calories and provide adequate exercise.

    There are many resources available for pet owners to help their pet’s lose weight. The first step is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to set a goal weight for your pet, calculate their calories needed for safe weight loss and create a weight loss plan.

    There are many tools available to help pet owners achieve their pet’s weight loss goals. Talk to your veterinarian about what works best for your pet.

    Regular Home and Professional dental Care-Add 4 years of Pet Life

    Dental Care – Improving lifespan by up to 4 years!

    Regular oral care and keeping a pet’s mouth healthy has been documented to add 4 years to their lifespan.  Dental disease causes more than just oral pain and infection; it also impacts your pet’s organs, such as heart, liver and kidneys.  Daily home dental care with products approved by the VOHC (Veterinary Oral health Council), will help keep your pet’s mouth healthy. This can include daily brushing, using a chew or water additive.  Besides home care, pets also need professional dental cleanings, just like humans who go to the dentist. Your veterinarian will examine your pet’s mouth during their wellness exam and indicate when a dental cleaning is necessary.

    Preventative Care/Annual Wellness Visits

    Your veterinarian is available for more than just taking care of sick pets, he or she is your pet’s partner in preventative medicine.  Yearly exams for pets under 7 years of age and twice yearly exams for pets over 7 years of age can identify problems before they become severe.  Part of the wellness visit should include bloodwork to screen major organ functions such as your pet’s liver and kidneys.  Any program to keep your pet healthy will include administering appropriate vaccinations, deworming and using products to prevent common illnesses such as Lyme disease.

    For more information on dental cleaning please visit Interested in learning more able pet Obesity? Please visit our other blog post at

    Disclaimer:  This written content is meant to be educational and is not medical advice.  Always consult a veterinarian about medical advice for your pet.

    Heatstroke in your pet!

    By Dr. Maria Krenz, DVM – ZimmVet-763-856-4848

    When a dog’s internal body temperature is above 105 degrees F, the dog may be suffering from heatstroke. Dogs have only a couple of ways to cool off—blood vessel expansion and panting. When dogs pant, they evaporate moisture from their tongues, nasal passages, and the lining of their lungs, and this cools them down as air passes over the moist tissue. They also cool off via vasodilation. Blood vessels, especially in the ears and face, expand, bringing overheated blood closer to the surface to cool down.

    Signs of Heat Stroke

    Heat Stroke in pets! Heatstroke in dogs is life-threatening and can also result in very serious complications. Recognizing early signs of heatstroke may help you remedy the condition before things get too serious. Early signs of heatstroke include:

    • Heavy Panting
    • Rapid Breathing
    • Excessive Drooling
    • Dry Mucous Membranes
    • Bright red gums and tongue
    • Skin that is hot to the touch
    • High Heart Rate

    Affected dogs become hyperactive and may have difficulty maintaining balance. As exposure to excessive heat goes on, the dog’s condition worsens and includes signs of shock, pale mucous membranes with white or blue gums, a very rapid heart rate, and a drop in blood pressure. The dog hyperventilates, and dehydration becomes more severe. Pupils dilate, the pulse becomes more irregular, and the dog has muscle tremors. They may become lethargic and unwilling to move, urinate or defecate uncontrollably, collapse, and become comatose.

    Why Does Heat Stroke Occur?

    Heatstroke generally occurs during the hottest part of the year, especially when it is humid. Contributing factors include: breed, age, physical fitness, if a pet is overweight, medical disorders and being in closed conditions such as a car.

    How to Treat Heatstroke

    Heatstroke therapy involves immediately trying to lower the dog’s body temperature. If you notice signs of heatstroke in your dog, it’s critical to stop any activity and help your dog cool down by:

    • Walking or carrying the dog to a well-ventilated, cool area.
    • Spraying or sponging the dog with cool (not cold) or tepid water, especially on the underside. Do not immerse the animal in cold water.
    • Using a fan to blow cool air on them.

    If at home cooling does not bring your dog’s body temperature below 103 degrees bring your dog to your veterinarian or local pet emergency clinic. Severely affected dogs require fluids, medication, support, and oxygen. Complications may not occur immediately, so it’s important to let your veterinarian determine the type of follow-up treatment required.


    Heatstroke in Pets! Immediate action and correct treatment are so important because they can mean the difference between a swift and complete recovery and long-term complications.

    Always provide plenty of cool fresh water, shade, and frequent rest periods when it’s hot. And never leave your dog in the car.

    Please visit the AAHA website at for more information. More information on heatstroke and summer fun with your pet please visit our other blog post

    Allergies in Pets

    By Dr. Maria Krenz, DVM – Zimmvet (763)856-4848

    Allergies in Pets

    Imagine that you have burning eyes, itchy skin or hair loss, but without the ability to talk.  Just like people, many pets suffer from allergies.  If you have owned a pet with allergies, you know the common signs: skin redness, scratching, licking, chewing at the skin, ear and skin infections, hair loss, excessive paw licking among others.  Pet allergies are a medical condition that requires lifelong management to control the symptoms.  Some pets only have seasonal allergies, such as spring time, and need to start treatment prior to when allergy signs begin for best management.

    Types of Allergies

    • Atopic Dermatitis (Atopy) – Inhalation of pollens, molds and other things in the environment.
      • Atopy is seasonal, one of the most common triggers in the spring time is Tree Pollen.
    • Food Allergies – Allergies to certain foods such as chicken, beef, or pork.

    Treatment Options

    Pets that suffer from Spring allergies need to start treatment to manage the symptoms as soon as it starts getting warm. It is best to work with your veterinarian to create a plan that is best for your pet. Common treatments include the following.

    1. Antihistamines:   Benadryl is a common medication used to control allergies. Speak to your veterinarian about how much and how often you can give your pet Benadryl. Other antihistamines include cetirizine, hydroxyzine and others.
    2. Shampoos: Often, pets with allergies have a poor skin barrier, which allows more allergens to get into the body. Bathing is usually needed at least every 2-3 days. Make sure you have shampoo that is made to help with itchy skin and allergies!
    3. Omega Fatty Acid Supplements:  These supplements are a natural anti-inflammatory agent, and can help reduce itching and help with general skin health.
    4. Dermaquin: This product is a natural supplement that comes in a form as a soft chew. Dermaquin helps strengthen the skin barrier which decreases a pet’s allergic response.
    5. Apoquel:  This is a very effective allergy medication. Apoquel directly affects the molecule that causes itch and inflammation in dogs. Apoquel is a tablet medication that is given daily.
    6. Cytopoint: This allergy treatment is an injection. The effects last about 4-8 weeks. Its mechanism is interrupting the pathway that causes itch and inflammation in dogs. 
    7. Allergy treatments for food can include things such as changing the diet your pet is on.

    Speak with your Veterinarian

    Allergies can be a very frustrating condition for pet owners.  Your veterinarian is here to help find the best treatment for your pet. Often, pets with allergies develop secondary bacterial and fungal skin infections that need to be treated with oral and topical medication. Ear infections are also common secondary condition that would needed prescription medication.  For tough cases, your normal veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary dermatologist (skin specialist). Visit this website for more information If your pet is fearful of going into the clinic please visit this website for tips on how to make them more comfortable

    Disclaimer:  This written content is meant to be educational and is not medical advice.  Always consult a veterinarian about medical advice for your pet.