Seasonal Tips to Protect Your Pet

Per Elgin's city ordinance number 7.04.020(2) it is unlawful to "fail, refuse or neglect to provide any animal in his or her charge or custody as owner or otherwise with proper food, drink, shade, care, or shelter;" and (4) it is unlawful "to confine an animal in a motor vehicle in such a manner that places it in a life or health threatening situation by exposure to a prolonged period of extreme heat or cold." To view the complete ordinance pertaining to animals in Elgin,see Title 7 of the city's municipal code.

Harsh weather conditions during the winter and summer months can cause harm to your pet if the necessary precautions are not instituted. So often, our animal control officers encounter situations that could have been prevented. By adhering to the below suggestions, you have the power to ensure the safety of your pet. If you are concerned about the welfare of an animal, please call the Elgin Police Department's non-emergency line at 847-289-2700, while issue is in progress. 

Winter Months

  • Keep pets inside when the temperatures are below freezing; don’t keep them in a car.
  • Ensure outdoor pets have the proper shelter; make sure their water is not frozen.
  • After walks or anywhere that rock salt or other chemicals are in use, be sure to wipe off your dog’s paws, legs and belly to prevent them from licking and ingesting those potentially dangerous substances. 
  • Antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Clean up any spills and consider using products containing propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol.
  • If your pet gets stuck outside for a long time, it can catch hypothermia. The following symptoms may noticeable: slow pulse; shallow breath; disorientation, collapse; and, unconsciousness. If wet, dry your pet thoroughly and them place warm water bottles, wrapped in towels, around your pet. The ears, paws and other poorly insulated parts of the body may have frostbite, do not rub or apply snow or water to these parts. Thaw the area slowly and get your pet to the vet.

Summer Months

It’s important to understand that the outside temperature does not need to be in the 90s for a car-bound animal to be in deep trouble. As the weather gets warmer, let’s keep our best friends safe. Don’t leave an animal in the car, even for a minute. Cracked windows and shade do very little to cool your pet inside a parked vehicle. Animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. If Spot can’t come with you into the store, LEAVE HIM AT HOME!

You could face over $1,000 in fines and up to 30 days in jail! If you see a dog left inside a parked car on a warm day, please call the Elgin Police Department at 847-289-2700.


View information regarding our Too Hot for Spot Campaign (PDF). You may also view our Spanish version (PDF).

Wonder how hot it gets inside a parked car?

Watch this video by Dr. Ernie Ward - but please don't try it yourself!


Also - remember during summer months:

  • Walking on hot pavement may cause burns and blisters on your dog’s paws; take long walks on the grass instead.
  • Radiator coolant is a lethal poison for dogs and cats, be sure to clean up any spills.
  • A pet left in the heat for too long may suffer from a heat stroke. The following symptoms may be noticeable: skin hot to touch; vomiting; drooling; rapid panting; distress; loss of coordination; collapse and, unconsciousness. Cool the head and body with wet towels, ice packs or cold water. Do not immerse the pet in cold water. Small amounts of water to drink may be offered, after the pet is cooling down.