Leaving a pet alone in a hot car is something that touches a lot of nerves. And, rightfully so. The inside temperature of a vehicle can jump up to 123 degrees in just an hour – and that’s when it’s only 80 degrees outside, according to the National Weather Service.

“[O]n a 90-degree day, interior temperatures can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes,” according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Just this week, a young pup was rescued from a 133-degree vehicle in Southern California during the season’s first heat wave. As the summer gets into full swing, and plenty more heat waves are sure to be on their way, here are five things to know about pets in hot vehicles, and how you can potentially save their lives:

1) It only takes minutes.

According to PETA, dogs trapped inside of hot vehicles can succumb to heatstroke in just minutes. That’s even if the car isn’t parked in direct sunlight. Dogs don’t sweat like humans do, and can only cool themselves by panting.

2) Know the symptoms of heatstroke.

“If you see a dog showing any symptoms of heatstroke—including restlessness, heavy panting, vomiting, lethargy, and lack of appetite or coordination—get the animal into the shade immediately,” PETA says.

3) Get the pup water – but make sure it’s not ice-cold.

You can lower a symptomatic dog’s body temperature by providing the dog with water, applying a cold towel to the animal’s head and chest, or immersing the dog in tepid (not ice-cold) water. Then immediately call a veterinarian.

4) You have the ‘Right to Rescue’ in California.

In January, a new California law — called the “Right to Rescue” law — went into effect, allowing for citizens to rescue pets from hot vehicles. The law allows Californians to rescue pets left in cars if an animal seems to be in distress from the heat or lack of ventilation, including by breaking the vehicle’s window, without fear of prosecution or civil liability.

5) It’s important to keep in mind that in order to receive legal immunity under the ‘Right to Rescue’ law, a person must comply with all of the following requirements (Info via Office of Assemblyman Marc Steinorth):

  • Determine the car is locked or there is no other reasonable method to remove the animal from the vehicle
  • Have a reasonable and good faith belief that the animal is in imminent danger if not immediately removed
  • Contact law enforcement prior to entering the vehicle
  • Use no more force than necessary to enter the vehicle
  • If the person does enter the vehicle, the person must remain nearby with the animal in a safe location until law enforcement arrives. The person may not leave the scene.