Dogs left in hot cars are an all too common summertime sight. Animal experts say it's extremely dangerous for animals, and could land their owners in hot water.
Courtney Thomas, president and CEO of Great Plains Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said animals left in cars can suffer heatstroke within minutes. Temperatures can soar inside a vehicle, even with the windows cracked.
"The side effects of that can ultimately result in the death of the pet," said Thomas. "Other neurological and sometimes permanent situations can arise as well."
Signs of heatstroke in animals include panting and seizures. Thomas said it's critical to get an overheated animal to a veterinarian as quickly as possible, and to cool them down on the way. She recommended cold, but not icy, water and compresses.
Under Kentucky law, it's illegal to leave a child under the age of eight unattended in a motor vehicle. But there are no such laws pertaining to pets. But, the state driver's manual warns that a pet's life can be threatened by leaving it unattended in a hot car.
"You may park your car in what you believe to be the shade," said Thomas. "By the time you get out of the store, your dog or cat may be sitting in direct sunlight. You wouldn't leave a child in the car, and pet owners really shouldn't do it with their pets."
Thomas added it's important to ensure animals have access to water in the summer, as their body temperatures naturally run high. That makes them particularly susceptible to heat-related issues.