WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Running into the grocery store or a restaurant can only take a couple of minutes, but with the extremely hot temperatures during the summer, the inside of your car can heat up to well over 150 degrees and, if your dog is inside, it could suffer from heat stress.
Veterinarian Liz Holmes, owner of Petsburgh Pet Care in West Lafayette, said animals can show signs of heat stress in a matter of minutes.
"The car inside of a car can reach high temperatures within minutes. If the car is sitting in the sun, it could take maybe even five minutes and and an animal could start showing signs of problems," Dr. Holmes said.
Tippecanoe County Animal Control Officer April Keck said she sees dogs left in cars every day and is on the look out for more dogs in cars with temperatures expected to reach triple digits this week.
"We've had several dogs die when the heat index gets this high," Keck said. "If it's dangerous for you, your kids, then it's dangerous for your animals. They have a fur coat on. You've got to keep them cool. You've got to do everything in your power to keep cool or you will be charged with animal cruelty and, if that animal dies in your backyard, it's on you."
Keck said if she sees a dog in a car or outside without shade and water and, depending on the condition of the dog, the owner will face punishment.
"We can do as little as a fine for leaving your dog in the car or outside in the heat to a full charge of animal cruelty, which is a class d felony I believe," Keck said.
Dr. Holmes said symptoms of heat stress include heavy panting, bright red gums, the animal is unsteady on its feet, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Officer Keck said you should seek medical attention or call authorities if your pet is showing any of these signs because simply giving them water isn't enough to bring their temperature down.
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