With the heat index expected to reach 105 degrees today and hot weather expected to continue in your area, PETA is offering lifesaving tips on caring for dogs.
- 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 dogs must be left outside, they should be supplied with ample water and shade, and the shifting sun needs to be taken into account. Where is the animal when you are at work? Even brief periods of direct exposure to the sun during a heat wave 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. They can quickly become severely overheated, and an exercise session can turn into a medical emergency.
- Avoid parked cars: Never leave a dog 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.
- Hot pavement: Dogs' footpads easily burn on heated asphalt, pavement, and sand. Test the road surface with your hand before walking a dog while the sun is out.
- Pickups: Never transport dogs in the bed of a pickup truck. This practice is dangerous—and illegal in many states and municipalities—because animals can catapult out of the truck bed on a sudden stop or choke if they jump out while they're tied up. During hot weather, dogs' feet and bellies can also get burned on the metal.
- Stay alert and save a life: Keep an eye on all outdoor dogs. Make sure that they have adequate water and shelter. If you see a dog in distress, contact humane authorities right away and give the dog immediate relief by providing water.
"When in doubt, don't leave your dogs out," says PETA Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. "When heat waves like this strike, it's better to be safe than sorry and keep your animal companions indoors."