This Summer, Keep Your Animal Companions out of Hot Cars and off Hot Pavement
For Immediate Release:
June 17, 2015
Lauren Rutkowski 202-483-7382
Middlesex County, Conn. – PETA receives reports every year about animals who experience horrifying deaths after being left in hot cars during the summer months. Just last week, a woman was cited for leaving her dog locked in her car on an 87-degree day. 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 temperatures expected to be in the 80s this week, 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—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—makes the following suggestions for safeguarding animals:
- 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. Protect dogs’ sensitive paw pads by sticking to the grass or going out in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler. Carry water, and take frequent breaks in shady spots.
- Provide water and shade: If animals must be outdoors on hot days, they have to be supplied with ample water and shade and the shifting sun needs to be taken into account. Even brief periods of direct exposure to the sun can have horrible consequences.
- Walk—don’t run: In very hot, humid weather, never exercise dogs by cycling while they try to keep up 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 slightly open. Dogs trapped inside parked 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 catapult out of a truck bed on a sudden stop or choke if they jump out while they’re tied up.
- 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 then contact humane authorities right away.