One of the most beloved (and talented!) distance runners, Kara Goucher, joins a long list of fellow Olympic athletes—including Nick Symmonds, Candace Parker, Amanda Beard, Hannah Teter, and Christen Press—who’ve teamed up with PETA to remind others that exercising with dogs in the heat can be deadly.
Temperatures across the country soar during the summer months, and weather-related deaths often claim the lives of dozens of dogs. Kara points out that unlike humans, dogs can only sweat ineffectively through their paw pads and cool themselves by panting, which makes them unable to beat the heat.
“Dogs will try to do what it takes to keep up with you,” she says. “[D]espite the fact that they’re covered in fur, they’ll try to … soldier through until they collapse.”
To prevent this, Kara recommends avoiding the warmest parts of the day, limiting direct sun exposure, and taking frequent breaks. Exercise with your dogs in cool morning or nighttime temperatures—never in direct sun—and always take along drinking water. And if you want a longer walk, hike, or run, grab a human buddy and leave your dog at home, where it’s safe.
On a hot day, the sidewalk can heat up to between 130 and 180 degrees—hot enough to hurt a dog’s feet and even seriously burn them. If the pavement is hot to the touch, it’s too hot for Spot.
The symptoms of heatstroke in dogs include heavy panting, vomiting, lethargy or restlessness, and lack of coordination. If your dog shows any of these signs, get to a veterinarian immediately—even a few minutes’ delay could be fatal.