As temperatures rise, it’s crucial that people know never to leave a dog in a hot car – even for a few minutes – and that they look out for dogs who are in this situation.
Soaring temperatures can cause animals heat stress and other physical harm that can be permanent or even fatal. On a 26 degree day, the temperature inside a shaded car is 32 degrees, and the inside of a vehicle parked in the sun can reach 70 degrees in just minutes. Dogs can cool themselves only by panting and by sweating through their paw pads. Even in the shade, dogs left in parked cars can quickly succumb to heatstroke and incur brain damage or die as a result.
If you see a distressed dog in a car, take down the car’s details, try to locate the owner, and call local authorities. If they are unresponsive and the dog’s life appears to be in imminent danger, find a witness who will back your assessment of the situation, take steps to remove the suffering animal, and then wait for authorities to arrive.
A dog showing any symptoms of heatstroke – such as restlessness, heavy panting, vomiting, lethargy, or lack of coordination – should be taken to a shady spot immediately. Stabilise the dog’s temperature by providing water and applying a cool towel to the animal’s head and chest or immersing the dog in tepid (not cold) water. Then take the animal to a veterinarian. For more information visit PETA.org.uk
Sascha Camilli, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
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