Summer Dangers for Dogs: Sizzling Pavement, Suffocating Cars, Scorching Sun, and More

PETA Offers Lifesaving Hot-Weather Animal-Care Tips: Keep Dogs Indoors, Don’t Force Them to Run on Hot Days, and Never Leave Them in Parked Cars

For Immediate Release:
June 13, 2017

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va.

PETA receives reports every year about animals who experience horrifying heat-related deaths during the summer months. This year alone, at least 19 dogs have died after being left outside or in hot cars. 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—including on jogs with guardians—are soaring. With high temperatures forecast to continue throughout the country, PETA is offering urgent guidelines for taking care of companion dogs 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. When outdoor temperatures reach the 80s, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to well over 100 degrees in just minutes and dogs trapped inside can succumb to heatstroke—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 dogs showing symptoms of heatstroke—including restlessness, heavy panting, vomiting, lethargy, and lack of appetite or coordination—get them into the shade immediately and lower their body temperature by providing 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 they’re uncomfortable or even in danger.
  • Avoid hot pavement: When outdoor temperatures reach the 80s, asphalt temperatures can reach 140 degrees, causing pain, burns, and permanent damage leading to scarring on dogs’ paws after just a few minutes of contact. Walk on grass whenever possible, and avoid walking in the middle of the day.

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).

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