PETA: Don’t forget your pets in the heat

PETA receives reports every year about animals that experience terrifying deaths after being left outside or in hot cars during the summer months.

On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, interior temperatures can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. 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. You can lower a symptomatic 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.

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 they have adequate water and shelter. If you see an animal in distress, provide it with water for immediate relief and contact humane society 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.

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.

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