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A DWTS Star. A Hot Car. See What Happens.

Written by Michelle Kretzer | July 12, 2012

It’s officially summer—the season of cookouts, parks, and beaches. Many of us enjoy taking our dogs along for summer fun, which is fantastic, except when people forget that dogs’ bodies aren’t nearly as well equipped as ours are to handle the soaring mercury and think that leaving their dogs alone in a hot car “for just a minute” will be OK.

Photo: Jeremy Cowart for WeissArtists/ Hair and makeup: Neil Robison for the David Agency

If we think we’re roasting in shorts and a T-shirt, then think about what it would feel like to be wearing a heavy fur coat—not to mention that the only way that dogs can cool themselves is by panting or sweating a small amount through their paw pads. For dogs, sitting in a hot car for a few minutes is far more than simply miserable—it is often deadly. That’s why Elisabetta Canalis is partnering with PETA on a new public service announcement urging guardians never to leave dogs in hot cars:

Dogs can sustain brain damage or heatstroke in just 15 minutes—about the same amount of time that it takes to pop into the store for beer and sunscreen. And that’s not just on a scorcher of a day either. On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car with the windows cracked can soar to between 100 and 120 in just minutes.

If you’re out this summer and spot a dog inside a parked car, have the owner of the vehicle paged. If you can’t locate the owner quickly, then call 911 right away. If the dog appears restless, excessively thirsty, or lethargic; is panting heavily or vomiting; or has a dark tongue, Fido most likely has heatstroke, and you should take steps to get the dog out of the car immediately, offer him water to drink, pour tepid water over his head and torso, and call a veterinarian for advice.

Let’s make sure that the dog days of summer are doggone safe for dogs.

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  • Christie says:

    It makes me cringe at the thought of dogs left in cars, the owners have to realize that it does’nt take long for the doggy to become overheated and sometimes die! Leave your pets at home if your goiong grocery shopping!

  • ACE says:

    Cats Cats Cats– DO NOT forget the Cats. Someone left a litter of kittens in her car while she went to the mall for “just a second” — luckily a humane officer just happened to walk by that car and saw the kittens –the kittens were literally throwing themselves at the doors and windows trying to get out. The driver was gone for about HALF AN HOUR– meanwhile the police were called and everyone helped sponge down and cool off the kittens until the driver was FINALLY located. Do Not Forget the Cats (and other pets too as a matter of fact!)