If being locked in a parked car cooking in the afternoon sun is too much for a Honey Badger to take, imagine what happens to a dog.
That’s the warning Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu wants everyone to heed, and the NFL star, nicknamed the “Honey Badger,” has teamed up with PETA to demonstrate the danger for dogs in hot cars in vivid detail.
In a video released on PETA’s website Thursday, the 5-foot-9, 186-pound football star sits alone in a parked car in an Arizona parking lot, completely exposed to a roasting 90-degree F. sun while the temperature inside the car rapidly increases to 120 degrees.
“I seriously couldn’t imagine leaving my dog in a car like this,” says Mathieu, the owner of a Yorkie named King, at the four-minute mark. “If you’re going to make a dog a part of your family, then make him a part of your family.”
As the clock reaches six minutes and the temperature inside the car enters triple digits, a profusely sweating Mathieu shows increasing signs of distress.
“I can’t wait to get out of this car,” he says.
Finally, at eight minutes and 120 degrees F., a dizzy Mathieu opens the door and escapes.
But that is the difference between human and canine. Not only are dogs unable to open doors and windows to safety, they cannot sweat to cool themselves. After Matheiu’s demonstration, the video depicts a dog in a backseat, while facts about the dangers of overheating appear on the screen.
According to PETA, dogs can sustain brain damage and even die after only 15 minutes in a hot car. Signs of heatstroke — which can occur quickly — include restlessness, heavy panting, lethargy, a darkened tongue, a rapid heart rate, fever, vomiting, glazed eyes, and dizziness.
“Don’t treat them like you wouldn’t treat someone you care about, someone you love,” Mathieu said.
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About the author: Jeff Goldberg is a freelance writer in Quincy, Mass. A former editor for MLB.com and sportswriter for the Hartford Courant who covered the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team (Huskies!) and the Boston Red Sox, Jeff has authored two books on the UConn women: Bird at the Buzzer (2011) and Unrivaled (2015). He lives with his wife, Susan, and their rescue pup, Rocky, an Italian Greyhuahua/Jack Russell mix from a foster home in Tennessee, hence the name Rocky (as in Rocky Top).