Following all these steps will help you provide the best assistance (in the right order), provide proof if the pet/car owner is charged, as well as help protect you and especially the pet. Thanks for helping and taking action!
What's "comfortable"? If the pet looks relaxed, is responsive (e.g. comes to see you at the window, wags its tail, etc.), and otherwise looks at ease and isn't panting heavily you probably have a bit of time to find the owner, without compromising the health of the pet or damaging the vehicle.
How to assess "uncomfortable": Are they panting, looking anxious, seeking out shade within the car? Are there saliva, nose and/or paw smudges on the window? Click to see a video of what this "looks" like.
How to assess "distress and immediate danger": Are they appearing dazed/confused/uncoordinated, or unresponsive? Have they vomited or had diarrhea in the vehicle? Do you notice any bleeding, such as from their nose? Is their tongue or gums a bright red or purplish color?
PLEASE BE AWARE that breaking into someone else's vehicle, even if to save a pet's life, is currently illegal in many states. Click here to check the laws in your state and then proceed with the following steps at your own risk.
PLEASE BE AWARE that breaking into someone else's vehicle, even if to save a pet's life, is currently illegal in many states. Check the laws in your state and then proceed with the following steps at your own risk.
If the pet is collapsed or unresponsive, if there is any evidence that they have vomited or had diarrhea as a result of the heat, if there are any bruises on them or bleeding from their nose, mouth, or anywhere else, or if you don’t have ready access to cool water or shade, please bring the pet immediately to the nearest open veterinary facility. The delay caused by attempting to administer first aid in these scenarios will likely decrease the chances of a favorable outcome for the pet. Proper and rapid veterinary care is the pet’s best chance.