BARRIE, ONT. -- Despite the well-known dangers of leaving a child or pet unattended in a hot car, police still have to remind motorists of the risks.

The heat outside can quickly turn the inside of a vehicle into an oven, even when parked in the shade with the windows cracked open.

The inside of a vehicle can become potentially life-threatening in mere moments.

"It is critically important to ensure all pets are protected from the potential fatal effects of the hot summer sun," said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.

Related Article: Newborn baby left alone in hot car in Innisfil

Dr. David Funston, DVM, Boyne Veterinary Clinic, advised that even a short time in a hot environment can cause suffering and distress, which could result in brain damage, kidney failure or death.

"Leaving pets to suffer in a sweltering vehicle will not be tolerated, and we have adopted tough new laws to deter this type of reckless behaviour in the province," Jones added.

Excessive panting, drooling, listlessness, collapsing or seizures are all signs of heat stress in animals.

"If your pet can not be with you, leave them at home where they will be safe, cool and comfortable," stated the Nottawasaga OPP.