The BC SPCA has revealed that throughout the month of June, it responded to 228 calls to rescue dogs in distress who had been left in hot cars by their owners.
This comes even after ongoing warnings about the potential fatal dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars, as was the case this past May when six dogs that were left in the back of a truck died of heatstroke in Langley.
“The media is wonderful about helping us get the message out that it can be fatal to leave your pet in a hot car, even for 10 minutes, but still we receive hundreds of calls about animals in distress,” says Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA. “We can’t stress strongly enough how dangerous this is for your pet.”
Over the coming week, the temperatures are expected to soar into the 30s across much of the province, including the Metro Vancouver region. The BC SPCA is pleading animal owners to leave their pets at home if they cannot keep them safe in their travels.
“The temperature in a parked car, even in the shade with windows partly open, can rapidly reach a level that will seriously harm or even kill a pet,” says Chortyk. “In just minutes, the temperature in a parked car can climb to well over 38°C (100°F).”
Dogs can only withstand hot temperatures for a very short period as they do not have sweat glands and can only cool themselves by panting and release heat through their paws. They could suffer irreparable brain damage or death within minutes of being left in an hot environment.
Hearstroke symptoms in dogs include: exaggerated panting (or the sudden stopping of panting), rapid or erratic pulse, salivation, anxious or staring expression, weakness and muscle tremors, lack of coordination, convulsions or vomiting, and collapse.
What to do when your dog has heatstroke symptoms
- Immediately move the dog to a cool, shady place.
- Wet the dog with cool water.
- Fan vigorously to promote evaporation. This will cool the blood, which reduces the animal’s core temperature.
- Do not apply ice. This constricts blood flow, which will inhibit cooling.
- Allow the dog to drink some cool water (or to lick ice cream if no water is available).
- Take the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible for further treatment.
Featured Image: Dog in car via Shutterstock