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How hot is it? Vet sits in parked car to demonstrate pet danger

How hot is it? One veterinarian sat in a parked car for 30 minutes to demonstrate the danger to pets as the summer heats up.

“It was about 35 C, a typical summer’s day, and it was breezy, and I cracked all four windows  a couple of inches, so I thought, you know, it won’t get that hot. Within five minutes, it was already 38 C, and within 15 minutes we were cracking 40 C,” Dr. Ernie Ward told CityNews.ca Friday.

“It very quickly escalated to a serious issue.”

Ward filmed the experiment near his North Carolina home and posted the results online.  The video, which shows him sweating profusely, quickly went viral.

Watch the video below or click here to view it.

While Toronto doesn’t always see North Carolina’s weather, there’s a high of 27 C in the forecast for Friday and it will feel more like 35 C with the Humidex.  This weekend, it’s expected to be even hotter.

Those temperatures will likely continue for much of the summer and pet owners need to be aware of the dangers of leaving their pets unattended.

While Ward was sweating, dogs and cats have trouble expelling that excess heat, relying on panting to cool off — and that’s puts them at a “tremendous” disadvantage, he said.

“I think this is one issue that people sometime get numb to. I really wanted to do this video to see how it felt to be a helpless pet locked in a hot car,” Ward said.

The Ontario SPCA has released its own video on the topic, part of an education campaign with police in Toronto police and York as well as the Ontario Provincial Police. The Operation VALUE campaign warns pet owners not only of the dangers but also the consequences of leaving pets unattended.

“People can be charged, not just provincially under the OSPCA Act, but also under the criminal code of Canada, on charges relating to animal welfare,” OSPCA Agent Brad Dewar told CityNews.ca.

“Unfortunately, we’ve received a number of calls this summer. Any time there’s a hot day, the call volume continues to increase. There have been a few fatalities in the province with pets being left unattended.”

Watch the OSPCA video below or click here to view it.

Dewar said the OSPCA has done tests similar to veterinarian Ward’s experiment, but their cars were always empty.

“It’s a preventable thing – there’s no good excuse for leaving an animal in a vehicle,” Dewar stressed.

“For you, it may only be five minutes, but the type of heat that exists within a vehicle, and knowing that dogs can’t sweat, they quickly become overheated.”

The dangers run from death and brain damage to kidney and heart issues, as well as nerve damage and behavioral issues.

Toronto police said if you see a pet locked in a parked car, call 311 for Animal Services. Only call 911 if it’s an emergency, or if it’s a child.