In a new PETA video, taking a break from zooming past the competition on the speedways, trailblazing NASCAR driver Daniel Suárez is racing to stop a woman from making a potentially deadly mistake: leaving her dog in a car on a hot summer day.
“You probably don’t realize that your dog can die of a heatstroke in the time that it takes you to make a quick pit stop,” Suárez tells the guardian. “Whatever errand you have to [run] isn’t as important as your dog’s life, right?” Spoiler alert: She agrees, of course!
Already this year in the U.S., at least 31 dogs have died from heat-related causes—and these are just the cases that have been reported. Most almost certainly aren’t.
Temperatures inside a parked car can reach the triple digits in just minutes—and since dogs can’t sweat and primarily cool themselves by panting, they’re at greater risk of suffering from heatstroke than humans are.
What Do You Do If You See a Dog in a Hot Car?
PETA urges anyone who sees a dog in a parked car to take immediate action: Write down the vehicle’s color, make, model, and license plate number, and rush to have the nearest store or stores page the owner. If the owner can’t be found, call 911—and if authorities are unresponsive, do whatever it takes to save a life. The PETA Shop offers an emergency window-breaking hammer for intervening in life or-death situations.
As Suarez says, “Be your dogs’ champion!”
When he isn’t busy winning races or helping to keep canine companions safe, you might find Suárez being a champion for other animals, too. In June, he carefully relocated a mouse, demonstrating that no animal is too small to be deserving of compassion.
Click below to learn more about being a champion for dogs facing rising temperatures: