This Summer, Keep Your Animal Companions out of Hot Cars and off Hot Pavement
For Immediate Release:
August 17, 2016
Lauren Rutkowski 202-483-7382
Multnomah County, Ore. – PETA receives reports every year about animals who experience horrifying deaths after being left in hot cars during the summer months. Just this summer, at least 41 dogs and five kittens have reportedly died after being left in hot cars. Other dogs sustain burns and develop blisters on their sensitive paws from walking on hot pavement, and cases in which dogs have collapsed from heat prostration are soaring. With high temperatures forecast for the rest of the summer, PETA is offering urgent guidelines for taking care of companion animals during hot weather.
When outdoor temperatures reach the 80s, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to well over 100 degrees in just minutes—and asphalt temperatures can reach 140 degrees, causing pain, burns, permanent damage, and scarring on dogs’ paws after just a few minutes of contact. Locking dogs in parked cars and walking them on hot pavement places them at risk of deadly heatstroke. 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 and lower the 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. Remember: When dogs’ long tongues hang out, it means they are uncomfortable, even in danger.
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, come in a range of materials and prices and help 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 announcements featuring Laura Bell Bundy are available to link to or download here (for print) and here (for online).
For even more tips, visit PETA.org.