Dog Dies in Hot Car: PETA Offers Tips to Prevent More Incidents

Group Warns Against Leaving Anyone Outside or in Vehicles

For Immediate Release:
June 28, 2017

Contact:
Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

New York – PETA receives reports every year about animals who experience horrifying deaths after being left outside or in hot cars during the warmer months. This year, at least 23 dogs, including four puppies, have reportedly died after being left outside or in hot vehicles. On Sunday in the Bronx, a dog died and another had to be resuscitated after being left in a hot car during 84-degree heat.

On a 70-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to 99 degrees in 20 minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 109 degrees in just 10 minutes. If you see a dog showing any symptoms of heatstroke—including restlessness, heavy panting, vomiting, lethargy, and lack of appetite or coordination—get the animal into the shade immediately. You can lower a symptomatic dog’s body temperature by providing the dog with water, applying a cold towel to the animal’s head and chest, or immersing the dog in tepid (not ice-cold) water. Then immediately call a veterinarian.

PETA offers the following suggestions for safeguarding animals during hot weather:

  • Keep dogs indoors: Unlike humans, dogs can only sweat through their footpads and cool themselves by panting. Soaring temperatures can cause heat stress, injury, or death.
  • Provide water and shade: When outside, animals must have access to fresh water and ample shade, and the shifting sun needs to be taken into account. Even brief periods of direct exposure to the sun can have life-threatening consequences.
  • Walk—don’t run: In very hot, humid weather, never exercise dogs by biking and making them run alongside you or by running them while you jog. Dogs will collapse before giving up, at which point, it may be too late to save them.
  • Avoid hot cars: Never leave an animal in a parked car in warm weather, even for short periods with the windows partially rolled down. Dogs trapped inside hot cars can succumb to heatstroke within minutes—even if a car isn’t parked in direct sunlight.
  • Never transport animals in the bed of a pickup truck: This practice is dangerous—and illegal in many cities and states—because animals can be catapulted out of a truck bed on a sudden stop or strangled if they jump out while they’re tethered.
  • Stay alert and save a life: Keep an eye on all outdoor animals. Make sure that they have adequate water and shelter. If you see an animal in distress, provide him or her with water for immediate relief and contact humane authorities right away.
  • Avoid hot pavement: When outdoor temperatures reach the 80s, asphalt temperatures can reach 140 degrees, causing pain, burns, permanent damage, and scarring on dogs’ paws after just a few minutes of contact. Walk on grass when possible, and avoid walking in the middle of the day.
  • Use a cooling vest or mat: Dog-cooling equipment, such as wearable vests or bed mats, comes in a range of materials and prices and helps prevent overheating. Simply freeze or soak the items in cold water to keep dogs comfortable while on a walk or lounging. Placing cold water bottles in a dog’s bed also works.

PETA’s warm-weather public service announcement featuring Mckenna Grace is available for download here.

For even more tips, visit PETA.org.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.

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