Group Warns Against Leaving Animal Companions in Parked Cars

For Immediate Release:
11 January 2016

Cairns – On Wednesday, one dog died and a second was left fighting heat exhaustion after they were left inside a hot car with the windows only slightly lowered. In the wake of this tragedy, PETA Australia asks that you share the following life-saving information with your audience.

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. If you see a dog showing any symptoms of heatstroke – including restlessness, heavy panting, vomiting, lethargy and lack of appetite or 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 animals:

  • 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.
  • Avoid beds of pickups: Never transport animals in the bed of a pickup truck. This practice is dangerous – and illegal in many cities and states – because animals can catapult out of the truck bed on a sudden stop or choke if they jump out while they’re tied up.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Stay alert and save a life: Keep an eye on all “outdoor animals”. Make sure that they have adequate water and shelter. If you see animals in distress, give them immediate relief by providing water – and contact humane authorities right away.

For more information on helping animals, visit