You may love to have your best friend with you at all times, but dogs and cars are not a good mix come summertime.
That’s the message from the B.C. SPCA’s Vernon branch as it ramps up efforts to raise awareness about the danger and potentially fatal consequences of leaving a dog inside a hot car.
“People think they’re doing their pet a favour by taking them along to run an errand, but the reality is the temperature inside a parked car at this time of year — even one that’s in the shade — can climb well above 38 Celsius,” said Corinne Ross, branch manager.
Dogs can withstand high temperatures for only a very short time — usually just 10 minutes — before suffering irreparable brain damage or death.
Every year, SPCA cruelty officers respond to hundreds of complaints about dogs in hot cars around the province. This doesn’t include complaints made to police in areas where the SPCA doesn’t have a local presence.
“If you see a dog languishing in a hot car, call your local SPCA or police,” said Ross.
“Before the authorities arrive, members of the public can help prevent a tragedy by attempting to find the animal’s guardian. If the car is in a mall or grocery store parking lot, for example, ask to have the owner paged over the building’s PA system. If a window on the vehicle is cracked open, try to increase the airflow inside by fanning the pet with a portable fan.”
- Signs of heatstroke in pets:
- Exaggerated panting (or the sudden stopping of panting);
- Rapid or erratic pulse;
- Weakness and muscle tremors;
- Lack of coordination;
- Convulsions or vomiting;
If your dog shows symptoms of heatstroke, you should:
n Immediately move the animal to a cool, shady place;
n Wet the dog with cool water; give the dog water. If no water is available let the dog lick ice cream;
n Fan vigorously to promote evaporation. Do not apply ice, which constricts blood flow;
n Take the dog to a veterinarian.
Visit spca.bc.ca for more information and a downloadable brochure.