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High temperatures prompt BC SPCA to remind pet owners to refrain from leaving animals in hot cars

Record highs are expected in the Powell River area and qathet region this week

Record high temperatures are expected in the Powell River area and qathet region this week, as well as throughout the province. As a result, BC SPCA has sent our a reminder about refraining from leaving pets in parked vehicles. 

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

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, according to Chortyk.

“It is a completely preventable tragedy for both the poor animal and their distraught guardian,” she added. “If you will need to leave them in a parked vehicle, even for a few minutes, don’t take them. Your dog will be much happier – and safer – at home, with shade and plenty of fresh cool water.” 

Anyone who sees an animal showing signs of heatstroke or other distress can call the BC SPCA Call Centre at 1.855.622.7722 during business hours, or contact Powell River and District branch at 604.485.9252, or RCMP.  

If you see a dog in distress in a parked vehicle: 

  • Note the license plate and vehicle information and ask managers of nearby businesses to page the owner to return to their vehicle immediately. 
  • If an animal is clearly in distress, call to report the situation to the BC SPCA, animal control or a law enforcement agency. Note: It is illegal for members of the public to break a window to access the vehicle themselves - only the RCMP, police and special provincial constables of the BC SPCA can lawfully enter a vehicle.  
  • Be an advocate! Help spread the word that pets and hot vehicles are a dangerous mix.  

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 coordination, 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. 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 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