Group Warns Against Leaving Animal Companions in Vehicles
Imperial County, Calif. – PETA receives reports every year about animals who experience horrifying deaths after being left outside or in hot cars during the summer months. Just last Friday, an El Cajon woman was cited for leaving a dog in a car on a 95-degree day. According to reports, law enforcement broke into the car, only to discover that the dog had died after being left in the car for five hours with interior temperatures reaching 115 degrees.
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 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.
- Provide 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 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 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.
Laura Bell Bundy (for PETA): Dogs in Hot Cars