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Heat wave: A reminder from the BC SPCA to care for pets

“We can’t stress strongly enough how dangerous it is to leave your pet in a hot car,” said Lorie Chortyk, general manager of communications for the BC SPCA.
SPCA dog car
The BC SPCA said people should leave their pets at home when running errands on hot days.

With the extreme heat comes a reminder from the BC SPCA for people to not leave their pets in parked vehicles.

 “We can’t stress strongly enough how dangerous it is to leave your pet in a hot car,” said Lorie Chortyk, general manager of communications for the BC SPCA.

Last year, the BC SPCA responded to more than 800 calls about animals in distress in hot cars.

“The temperature in a parked car, even in the shade with windows partially open, can rapidly reach a level that can seriously harm or even kill a pet,” Chortyk said.

She noted that because dogs have no sweat glands, they can only cool themselves by panting and by releasing heat through their paws.

“Dogs cannot withstand high temperatures for long periods, particularly older pets and brachycephalic breeds such as pugs, bulldogs, Boston terriers and others with compressed faces,” Chortyk said.

She said SPCA officers are called out to worst-case situations every summer, where a pet is in critical distress or has died after being left in a hot car.

Chortyk said people should leave their pets at home when running errands on hot days.

If you see an animal showing signs of heat stroke or other distress, call the BC SPCA Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722 during business hours or contact the Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000.

What to do if you see a dog in distress in a parked vehicle

• Note the licence plate number and vehicle information and ask managers of nearby businesses to page the owner. 
 

• It is illegal for members of the public to break a window to access the vehicle themselves; only police and special provincial constables of the BC SPCA can lawfully enter a vehicle.  
 

Symptoms of heatstroke in pets

• Exaggerated panting (or the sudden stopping of panting) ;

• Rapid or erratic pulse;

• Salivation;

• Anxious or staring expression ;

• Weakness and muscle tremors;

• Lack of co-ordination;

• Convulsions;

• Vomiting;

• Collapse.

If your pet shows symptoms of heatstroke, immediately move the animal to a cool, shady place. Wet the dog with cool water. Fan vigorously to promote evaporation as this will cool the blood, which reduces the animal’s core temperature 
Do not apply ice as dping so will constrict blood flow, which will inhibit cooling. 
Allow the animal to drink some cool water (or to lick ice cream if no water is available). Take the animal to a veterinarian as soon as possible for further treatment.