Elisabetta Canalis is hot. Very, very hot. And although she is an Italian model, we aren't talking about her looks. In the above video for PETA, Canalis demonstrates how a dog might feel when it's trapped in a hot car. She appears scared and confused, exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion.
While Canalis is performing a dramatic interpretation, she highlights a deadly problem surrounding pets left in cars.
Canalis isn't the only concerned person to draw attention to this problem. Dr. Ernie Ward, a North Carolina veterinarian, can be seen in the video below sitting in a parked car with the temperature climbing higher every minute. The doors aren’t locked and the windows are cracked, yet Dr. Ward makes no attempt to escape the sweltering heat.
In the first five minutes of his experiment, the temperature quickly creeps up to almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
At the 20 minute mark of the video, Dr. Ward seems to find a tragic camaraderie with animals trapped in hot cars. “You are helpless, you have no control over what is happening,” He says. “And this? This kills. And it’s a lousy way to die.”
By minute 30, the car has reached a sweltering 117 degrees, and the vet is not looking good.
“It’s oppressive. That’s the best word for it,” says Dr. Ward, sweat drenching his scrubs.
Appearing bleary-eyed and sluggish, he explains that the situation is even worse for dogs, who can’t perspire except through their paws. In fact, dogs mostly cool down by panting, which according to the ASPCA, is nowhere near as effective as sweating.
PETA points out that even on a relatively temperate day, say around 78-degrees, the temperature can jump to 100-120 degrees Fahrenheit in a parked car. And on a 90-degree day? It only takes 10 minutes for the temperature to hit 160 degrees. While the ASPCA notes that some states have enacted laws to deter pet owners from leaving dogs in a parked car, many animals still die every year from heat exhaustion in hot cars.
Even the most kind-hearted pet owners need to be aware that accidental heat-related deaths do happen. Take, for example, the police officer who allegedly attempted suicide after he left police dogs locked in his car, where they died from heat exhaustion. Or this Florida doctor on the PETA website, who was sentenced to six months in jail after his dog overheated while waiting in the car on a 67-degree day.
Instead of risking the well-being of both your pet and yourself, find alternative plans for your pooch during the hot daytime hours. Try leaving him at home with cool air circulating through the house and ample water in his bowl, or drop him off at a doggy daycare. If you notice that your dog is overheated, HuffPost blogger Bonnie Schneider suggests cooling him down with chilled (not freezing) water on the foot pads and armpits, and immediately taking him to the vet. Check out ASPCA’s hot weather tips for more ideas on keeping your pet safe.
As Canalis warns in her PETA PSA, "It's very important if you see a dog unattended inside a car that you don't leave the situation." PETA suggests having the owner paged in a store or calling local authorities. Canalis adds, "If you know that you are going to run errands, leave your dog at home. If it's too hot for us, it's definitely too hot for our dogs."
Check out Dr. Ward's experience in his hot car below, and scroll down to see Elisabetta Canalis' PETA PSA. Do you have any tips for keeping your pet safe in the heat? Let us know in the comments below!