WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Fourth of July weekend also signals the start of what’s called “the dog days of summer” typically the hottest 40 days of the year. While many of us look forward to the dog days, it could be a real danger to dogs.

The little chihuahua walking on Wilkes-Barre Public Square is named angel. The puppy belongs to Donna Love and Stan Pierkowski.

Love says she won’t leave Angel alone in the car.

“They do not deserve to be put in a hot car with the windows up,” said Love.

“Even with the windows cracked, the temperatures can rise to deadly levels,” stated Amber Battieger, from Disaster & Cruelty Response, American Humane.

American Humane is on an awareness campaign this 4th of July weekend, hot dogs belong on the grill, not in a parked car where temperatures can soar to dangerous levels in a matter of minutes.

“Dogs can’t sweat as humans do so they begin to pant. They can experience seizures, convulsions, and significant brain damage can occur from heat stroke,” explained Battieger.

It happens to thousands of dogs in the U.S. each year and proves deadly to hundreds of them.

“It’s a very, very preventable tragedy,” said Battieger.

Parked cars aren’t the only potential summer threat to a dog’s health. The midday heat can be a real danger. It’s why Danny Sales takes precautions with his 5-year-old boxer mastiff named Lahey.

“Even if you’re taking your dog out for the day, bring water for him. Make sure they’re hydrated and not overheating. Definitely important,” explained Sales.

American Humane says dog sunscreen will protect your four-legged friend. So will avoiding hot walking surfaces.

“Press your hand against the asphalt. If it’s too hot for you after a couple of seconds it’s way too hot for your dog,” stated Battieger.

Keeping dogs safe and not distressed during the dog days of summer and year-round.

“Enjoy them because that’s what they are there for and just be with your dog,” said Pierkowski.

American Humane urges you to alert authorities if you see a dog in distress. To learn more about American Humane and its efforts to help dogs and other pets head over to their website.