Urgent: Drought Survival Tips to Save Animals’ Lives

For Immediate Release:
August 13, 2018

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Denver, Colo.

Because a drought is affecting areas in Colorado (including Denver, Colorado Springs, and Grand Junction) and high temperatures are forecast for the rest of the summer, animals—including birds and other wild animals who are in danger of dying from lack of water or who drown in horse troughs and other smooth-sided water receptacles from which they cannot escape—are at risk in hot weather. Animals can quickly succumb to heatstroke in high temperatures: Already this year, there have been at least 42 hot weather–related dog and cat deaths—and these are just the ones that have been reported. Most aren’t.

Anyone who leaves animals outside to suffer in hot weather may be prosecuted for cruelty.

The following tips will help keep animals safe in hot weather:

  • Put out shallow bowls of water for wildlife.In horse troughs and other water containers with smooth sides, place rocks or other means for birds, bats, and other animals to escape. Animals have died in drought-affected areas because they had no access to water and have drowned in deep containers.
  • Keep animals indoors. Unlike humans, dogs can sweat only through their footpads and cool themselves by panting, so even brief sun exposure can have life-threatening consequences. Anyone who sees animals in distress and is unable to help should note their locations and alert authorities immediately.
  • Never leave an animal inside a hot vehicle. Temperatures can quickly soar in parked cars, and a dog trapped inside can die from heatstroke within minutes—even if the car is in the shade with the windows slightly open. PETA offers an emergency window-breaking hammer for help intervening in life-or-death situations.
  • Avoid hot pavement. When outdoor temperatures reach the 80s, asphalt temperatures can climb to 140 degrees, causing pain, burns, and permanent damage to dogs’ paws after just a few minutes of contact. Walk dogs on grass whenever possible, and avoid walking in the middle of the day. Never run with dogs in hot weather—they’ll collapse before giving up, at which point, it may be too late to save them.

PETA has released a warm-weather public service announcement featuring Mckenna Grace. For more information, visit PETA.org.

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