PETA appeals to pet owners not to leave dogs in hot cars

AS our long, hot summer continues, animal rights organisation PETA continue to receive reports of dogs dying or suffering from heat exhaustion after being left inside hot cars, a spokesperson has said.

During warm weather, even dogs who are left in the shade can quickly succumb to heatstroke and sustain brain damage as a result.

On a 30-degree day, the temperature inside a car parked in the sun can reach 54 degrees in just minutes, even with the windows slightly opened.

If you see a dog showing any symptoms of heatstroke - including restlessness, heavy panting, vomiting, lethargy and lack of 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 dog'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 dogs during the summer:

  • 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.
  • Keep dogs indoors: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 sun exposure can have life-threatening consequences.

If you see animals in distress, give them immediate relief by providing water - and contact humane authorities right away.

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