This week, a yellow Labrador retriever died of heatstroke after being left inside a truck in a mall parking lot in Holyoke, Massachusetts. A Chihuahua corgi mix had a close call in the same parking lot and almost died of heatstroke as well. In light of these incidents, we thought we’d give you some information on keeping animals safe in hot weather.
PETA receives reports every year about animals who suffer horrifying deaths during the spring and summer months. During warm weather, even dogs who are left in the shade can quickly succumb to heatstroke and suffer brain damage as a result. On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a shaded car is 90 degrees, while the inside of a car parked in the sun can reach 160 degrees in just 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, by applying a cold towel to the dog’s head and chest, or by immersing the dog in tepid (not ice-cold) water. Then immediately call a veterinarian.
PETA Prime makes the following suggestions for safeguarding animals:
- Keep dogs inside: Unlike humans, dogs can only sweat through their footpads and cool themselves by panting. Soaring temperatures can cause heat stress and be physically damaging or fatal.
- Water and shade: If animals must be left outside, they should 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 while you’re at work can have life-threatening 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 parked 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 the car isn’t parked in direct sunlight.
- Pickups: 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 the 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, contact humane authorities right away and give them immediate relief by providing water.
PETA is right now building doghouses with special extended roofs for shading for dogs who are in desperate need of shelter in these record-high temperatures. You can help this lifesaving work by making a contribution to our project today. Your donation will bring the shelter of a sturdy, weatherproof doghouse to a lonely, neglected dog this summer.