Pavement Sizzling? Think of Your Dog’s Feet!

Urgent Plea: This Summer, Keep Your Animal Companions out of Hot Cars and off Hot Pavement

For Immediate Release:
June 29, 2017

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Harris County, Texas

PETA receives reports every year about animals who experience horrifying deaths after being left in hot cars during the summer months. Other dogs sustain burns and develop blisters on their sensitive paws from walking on hot pavement, and cases in which they have collapsed from heat prostration are soaring. With high temperatures forecast for the rest of the summer and since the Houston Police Department has reported to PETA that it’s already received numerous phone calls from concerned residents about animals who have been left in hot cars, PETA is offering urgent guidelines for taking care of companion dogs during hot weather.

The image above was given to PETA by the Houston Police Department, which encourages residents to access it via the department’s Twitter and Facebook accounts and share it on social media.

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 and burns (leading to permanent damage and scarring) on dogs’ paws after just a few minutes of contact. Locking dogs inside parked cars and walking them on hot pavement places them at risk of deadly heatstroke. If you see dogs showing any symptoms of heatstroke—including restlessness, heavy panting, vomiting, lethargy, or lack of appetite or coordination—get them into the shade immediately and lower their body temperature by providing them with water, applying a cold towel to their head and chest, or immersing them in tepid (not ice-cold) water. Then immediately call a veterinarian. Remember: When dogs’ long tongues hang out, it means that they’re uncomfortable, even in danger.

PETA offers additional 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.
  • 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.

PETA’s warm-weather public service announcement is available to link to or download here.

For even more tips, visit

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