INDIANAPOLIS (May 22, 2019) — As Hoosier families prepare to embark on summer vacations, road trips, outdoor excursions and even quick stops around town, Pet Wellness Clinics wants to remind pet owners to never leave their animals inside a parked car.

In a study conducted by Arizona State University researchers last year, the interior of a car parked in the sun on a sweltering 95-degree day for an hour averaged 116 degrees. The car’s seats, where pets would be most likely to spend their time, reached an average of 123 degrees.

The Center for Disease Control has found that on a typical summer day with temperatures ranging from 80-100 degrees, the interior of a car parked in direct sunlight can climb to as high as 172 degrees. But avoiding direct sunlight and extreme temperatures isn’t a solution. Days as cool as 70 degrees can still produce life-threatening temperatures inside a parked car, while the common belief that leaving windows cracked open makes a parked car safe has been debunked.

Heat stroke can develop quickly in dogs and cats and can permanently damage their overall health and wellbeing. A sudden and intense rise in a pet’s body temperature can lead to a coma, organ dysfunction, brain damage and even death.

“Cats and dogs don’t sweat like us humans do,” Pet Wellness Clinics Owner and Veterinarian Dr. Mike Graves said. “Their panting is what lowers and regulates their body temperatures, but inside a hot car they’ll just be inhaling and recirculating that hot air, which only makes it hotter and more dangerous for the animal the longer they’re trapped inside. Even with windows cracked and even if it’s only for a short period, it’s a very dangerous situation for any pet.”

Indiana passed a “good Samaritan” law in 2017, which partially protects citizens from forcibly entering a motor vehicle under certain conditions to rescue an animal trapped inside. A person breaking into a vehicle to rescue an at-risk cat or dog will still be required to pay for half of the costs to repair the damage caused, but is granted immunity from any criminal and civil liability as long as they meet certain requirements — including contacting law enforcement prior to the forced entry and remaining with the animal until an emergency responder arrives.

For more information on how to keep your pets safe in the heat this summer, or to schedule an interview with Pet Wellness Clinics professionals, contact Nicole Misencik at or (317) 519-3790.

About Pet Wellness Clinics

Pet Wellness Clinics have proudly served Central Indiana pets and their owners since 2005. Treating every pet as if they were their own, Pet Wellness Clinics are dedicated to providing the highest level of veterinary expertise, compassionate service and personal attention across its seven Indianapolis area locations. For more information, visit

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