This guy … saves dogs from hot cars! Chris Diamantopoulos’ character on Silicon Valley, Russ Hanneman, loves hot cars, but Chris prefers cool dogs. He and his dog, Zeus, joined PETA for a public service announcement warning people about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars and showing them what to do if they come across a potentially fatal situation.
While responsible guardians tend to know better than to leave their vulnerable animal or child alone in a parked vehicle—especially when it’s warm out—tragedies often occur when people rush around under the pressures of crammed schedules and a long list of errands and forget that their dependent is desperately waiting for them in the car.
Dogs rely on us to keep them safe from harm. Whether they’re left inside hot cars or outdoors in extreme heat or cold, conditions can become dangerous and even deadly very quickly. Mild weather can be misleading—the temperature outside might be a lovely 78 degrees, but the temperature inside a parked car can soar to 100 degrees in minutes.
You should always take situations like these seriously. And move fast, because death can come very, very quickly.
Dogs can’t cool themselves by sweating as humans can—their only relief from overheating is panting, which isn’t effective when they’re trapped in a car with only hot air to breathe. When left in hot cars, animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just minutes. Signs of heatstroke—which can occur quickly—include restlessness, heavy panting, lethargy, a darkened tongue, a rapid heart rate, fever, vomiting, glazed eyes, and dizziness.
If You See Something, Do Something
If you see a dog left in a hot car, every second counts, so act fast. Take down the car’s color, make, model, and license plate number. Take pictures and videos with your phone to document what you’re witnessing. Have someone keep an eye on the dog, have the owner paged inside the nearest buildings, and call 911. If you can’t find the owner, authorities are unresponsive or too slow, and the dog appears to be in imminent danger, find a witness (or several) who will back up your assessment and do whatever it takes to remove the suffering animal from the car. Get the dog into shade as quickly as possible, douse the animal with tepid or cool water (not cold water), and call a veterinarian immediately.
Be prepared like Chris, your friendly neighborhood character actor, and order your PETA emergency hammer today. Also, make sure that your family, friends, and neighbors know never to leave dogs in hot cars.