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Dozens of Pets Die in Hot Weather Every Year

The temperature inside a parked car can soar to 100 degrees in just minutes on a 78-degree day.(22lanika/Adobe Stock)
The temperature inside a parked car can soar to 100 degrees in just minutes on a 78-degree day.
(22lanika/Adobe Stock)
June 3, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — Before sweltering summer temperatures set in, animal-advocacy groups are cautioning Hoosiers about the dangers of heat to pets.

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, 58 animal deaths were related to hot weather in 2018 alone. But Rachel Bellis, manger of local affairs with PETA, notes those are just the instances that were reported.

Because they don't sweat like humans, dogs and other pets have a more difficult time staying cool. Bellis recommends keeping pets inside on hot days and never leaving a dog or other animal alone inside a hot vehicle.

"People think, 'Oh, I'm just going to run into the store really quick. The dog will be fine. I'll leave some water. I'll leave the windows cracked.' But the temperatures can soar so quickly, and that animal can suffer heat stroke and they can die in just a few minutes,” Bellis said. “It's such an awful, painful way for an animal to suffer."

She adds on a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 100 degrees in just minutes. Heat stroke can be fatal, and symptoms in a pet include restlessness, heavy panting, vomiting, lethargy and poor appetite or coordination.

Bellis encourages anyone who sees a pet left in a hot vehicle to act quickly by getting other people who are around involved and checking the nearest building for the owner.

"Try to talk to the owner, and if the owner is not responsive, call the police. We don't want to sit by and watch an animal suffer, or anyone suffer,” she said. “Dogs, elderly and children are the most vulnerable in these hot summer months, so we really have to look out for each other."

She adds that in hot weather, it's also important to be mindful about walking a dog.

"On an 87-degree day, the pavement or the asphalt can turn into 140 degrees, and we don't realize this. When we're walking, we've got our shoes on,” Bellis said. “So touch the pavement, get a temperature. If it's too hot for our hands, it's too hot for our dog."

She suggests walking in the grass, choosing shady routes, or heading out in the early morning or in the evening when the temperatures are cooler.

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN