A child dies in a hot car every 8 days, on average, in America; experts are warning that pets are just as susceptible to high temperatures in cars as their human friends. With awareness of how lethal hot cars can be after two young children perished in a hot truck they climbed into over the weekend, groups like PETA are hoping to raise awareness of hot car deaths of pets too.
“Four dogs have already died from heat-related causes before the start of summer —and since social distancing because of COVID-19 extends store wait times and prolongs errands, PETA is concerned that this summer could see an unprecedented number of hot weather–related animal deaths,” the organization said in a released statement.
PETA offers three summertime tips for pet owners: Never leave an animal inside a hot vehicle, keep animals indoors, and avoid hot pavement.
As we know is the case with humans, temperatures can quickly soar in parked cars, and a dog trapped inside can die from heatstroke within minutes—even if the car is in the shade with the windows slightly open, which has little to no effect on lowering the temperature inside the car. As with children, pets should never be left unattended in vehicles.
Unlike humans, dogs can sweat only through their footpads and cool themselves by panting, so even brief sun exposure can have life-threatening consequences. Anyone who sees animals in distress and is unable to help should note their locations and alert authorities immediately.
Automobiles can become deadly ovens in the summer. When the outside temperature is only 70, the temperature inside a vehicle can climb to 113 degrees in an hour. On a 95 degree day, temperatures inside a vehicle can warm to 138 degrees in an hour.
Being outside of cars can also be hazardous to pets when temperatures soar. When outdoor temperatures reach the 80s, asphalt temperatures can climb to 140 degrees, causing pain, burns, and permanent damage to dogs’ paws after just a few minutes of contact. Especially on warm summer days, dogs should be walked on grass whenever possible. PETA warns that people should never run with dogs in hot weather: “they’ll collapse before giving up, at which point, it may be too late to save them.”