Seeing people jogging with their dogs in this heat gives me the chills. Anyone forcing them to run behind them or behind a bicycle is asking for trouble. You may save a life if you step in and warn these folks why they are putting their dogs in serious danger. I once pulled over to help a man whose dog was showing signs of heat stress, although the man hadn’t turned around to notice. I bundled them into my car, and although we reached the vet’s office within minutes, the dog did not make it.
A common misconception people have is that if they aren’t overheating, their dog isn’t, either. But in addition to being covered with fur, dogs cannot perspire as humans can—they can only cool themselves by panting, which doesn’t help when they only have hot air to breathe.
Signs of distress include heavy panting, tongue hanging all the way out, vomiting, and stumbling or lack of coordination. Dogs experiencing heatstroke must be cooled down with water and wet towels and rushed to a vet immediately. According to one study, half of all dogs taken to a vet with exercise-induced heat exhaustion died, but the chances of survival increased the sooner the dogs received care.
Our dogs love us and will try to keep up with us until they can’t anymore. Let’s not run them to death. Leave them at home in the air-conditioning on hot days.
Ingrid E. Newkirk
President People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
1536 16th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20036