Every year dogs die after being locked inside vehicles while their owners shop, go inside for “just a minute” or run other errands.

Warm weather can be and is a killer for pets. Overheating in a dog can lead to heat stroke and even death within 20 minutes.

Here’s the scenario: A dog or cat is left in a closed car for “just a minute.” The owner gets distracted and returns to the vehicle to find his pet collapsed, salivating, panting uncontrollably or losing consciousness.

With the extreme hot weather we’ve had lately, temperatures in a closed vehicle can increase 40 degrees above the outside air temperature in just a few minutes. When it’s 85 degrees outside, the temperature inside a vehicle — even with the windows open — can soar to 102 in 10 minutes and 120 degrees in a half an hour. When it’s 60 degrees outside, a closed car interior can reach 100 degrees on a sunny day.

If you suspect your pet is overcome by heat, immediately soak the animal with cool (not cold) water and seek veterinary care. If you see a dog or cat in a hot car, call 911. The animal’s life may depend on you.

DeDe Tyler

Dills Bluff Road

Charleston