VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – With the heat comes another warning for pet owners from the BC SPCA: don’t leave your dog inside your car on a hot, sunny day.
Lorie Chortyk, who speaks for the society, says they’ve already had a number of calls about this.
“Unfortunately I think we’re going to have an even busier year rescuing dogs from hot cars than last year–last year we received more than 1,000 calls about dogs in distress,” she explains.
“Sadly I think we may top last years record, and that’s not a record we want to break.”
She says the number one danger for pets at this time of year is owners thinking “I’ll just be gone 10 minutes” and leaving their dogs in the car while they run an errand.
“People just don’t realize that it can take as little as 10 minutes to die in a hot car,” she says.
“We know people have pets with them because they love them, they don’t want anything tragic to happen to them. I think it’s just matter of reminding people how quickly something can happen, even if the car is parked in the shade, even with windows rolled down.”
As for the reason in the jump in calls, she thinks a mix of hot weather earlier in the year and a heightened public awareness could be contributing.
“I think one of the good things is people are more aware of the dangers of dogs in hot cars so people are calling our animal cruelty hotline a lot more,” Chortyk says, adding she encourages that behaviour, and if you see a dog in a hot car, call 9-11.
While a hot car might be the biggest danger, pet owners should also keep in mind that dogs feel the heat even more than humans do.
“They can’t release heat in the same way that humans can. In the case of dogs, they can only release heat from their body by panting and from the pads of their paws. The heat retains in their body much more than humans. We really advise that you make sure your pets have plenty of water, keep them very hydrated.”
If you’re going to take your dog out for some exercise, she says take them out early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler out, reduce the intensity of the activity, and keep try to walk them on grass or a cooler surface over hot sidewalks.
“This time of year we see so many animals coming into vet clinics with burns on the pads of their paws from the hot pavement,” she says.
“All the injuries we see, and the deaths we see, they’re all completely preventable.”
-With files from Tim James