With temperatures climbing, it’s time to leave your dogs at home when you run into the post office or the market “for just a couple of minutes.”

Every summer, news programs carry at least one sad story of a dog dying from heatstroke while locked in a car. The thought of what these poor animals suffer in the process is more than most of us can bear.

Even with windows left open a few inches, your dog is in danger. And it only takes minutes. At a moderate 78 degrees, the inside of a car can reach between 100 and 120 degrees within 15 minutes. On a 90-degree day, your car becomes a 160-degree inferno in just 10 minutes. If you doubt what that can do to your dog, try it out on yourself.

Pet owners who think it’s safe to leave their dogs in a car left running with the air-conditioner turned on should be aware that in some cars, the a/c will shut down if the engine overheats.

Since dogs can cool themselves only through their paw pads and by panting, they will experience dangerous symptoms within 15 minutes. These symptoms include restlessness, thick saliva, heavy panting, lethargy, dark tongue, vomiting and lack of coordination. Brain damage and death are the consequences of our thoughtless behavior.

What should you do if you see a dog in distress and the car is locked? Try to locate the owner immediately. If that fails, Idyllwild Fire Department will respond and, if necessary, either force open the car door or take out a window to save an animal. That number is 659-2153.

If it is unable to respond immediately, and you feel the situation calls for it, get a witness to confirm your observations and take whatever action is necessary to get the dog out of the car. Don’t leave the scene until the situation has been resolved.

Once the animal has been rescued, take him or her into an air-conditioned area, offer water, and apply cool (not icy) compresses to the groin, stomach, chest and paws. If possible, immerse the dog in cool (not icy) water for two minutes or douse with a hose. Transport to a vet in an air-conditioned car as soon as possible.

Other heat-related dangers to your dogs include burned pads from walking on hot cement or asphalt. These surfaces, when heated by the sun, can reach 150 degrees.

Do you really need to take your dog to the Fourth of July parade? Most of them actually look pretty miserable. The metal in truck beds gets hot enough to burn paws, too.

Although a dog’s paw pads are thicker than the skin on our feet, they will burn. If it’s too hot for your feet, it’s too hot for theirs.

Some dogs are left tied outside for hours in their guardian’s absence. Please be sure all your pets have access not only to shade, but also to enough clean, cool water that can’t be tipped over by their activity. If you see animals without these minimal considerations, document and call Animal Control to report the abuse. That number is 1-888-636-7387. Or leave a note. Take water. Do something about it because they can’t.