When pet owners feel like they are being cautious, by leaving car windows down or leaving the a/c on, they often don't realize that it doesn't take long for a pet to become overwhelmed.
Dr.Tad Moseley is the owner and head veterinarian at the Animal Health Center in Valdosta, Ga.
He said dogs pant to cool down, but when the environment around them is too hot, they can't get rid of the heat fast enough to keep cool... causing them to become ill.
“If you think you notice signs of heat related illness, whether it's in a car or the environment, you'll see a real heavy loud pant, they can vomit, they can pass out, they can get real disoriented,” said Moseley.
Moseley said that pet owners should not only be cautious when it pertains to leaving pets in cars, but when the pet is outside in general. If your pet is accustomed to air-conditioning, then they should only be walked early in the morning or late in the evening after 7 p.m. For most heat illnesses happen around 5 p.m.
“You know it can kill them. That's the bottom line. It's very dangerous for them,” said Moseley.
Lowndes County Public Information Officer Paige Dukes said to keep your pets hydrated and if you can't take them inside a building, then to simply leave them at home.
“It’s just not worth the risk to your pet, it's not worth the criminal charges that you could face if there's a cruelty charge for them being left in a hot car. I know that separation anxiety with our pets can be an issue, but this time of year the risk for the heat is much greater,” said Dukes.