BC SPCA reminds pet owners to keep pets out of hot vehicles

Non-profit animal welfare organization rescues hundreds of trapped animals each year

With temperatures starting to rise, and more sunny weather on the horizon, BC SPCA is reminding pet owners to never leave their furry friends inside of vehicles on hot days.

The non-profit animal welfare organization receives nearly 1,000 calls to rescue animals in that predicament every year.

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“We know people love their pets and would never knowingly put them in danger, but many pet guardians are just unaware of how quickly their pets can suffer when left in a vehicle in warm weather,” stated BC SPCA general manager of communications Lorie Chortyk, in a media release. “Even parked in the shade, with windows cracked open, temperatures inside a vehicle can become deadly.”

BC SPCA is calling on all animal lovers to take a No Hot Pets pledge this month to keep their pets safe and warn others of the dangers of leaving animals in their vehicles.

“The death of a pet left in a hot car is a completely preventable tragedy, and by taking the BC SPCA pledge people can help us raise awareness and save lives,” stated Chortyk.

She added that because dogs don’t “sweat” like humans and cannot release heat from their bodies as quickly, they can succumb to heatstroke and heat exhaustion in a short period of time.

“Some dogs, including senior pets and those with flatter faces, experience even more challenges in hot weather.”  Signs of heat stroke include exaggerated panting, rapid or erratic pulse, salivating, an anxious or staring expression, weakness or lack of coordination, vomiting, convulsions and collapse, according to the release.

For anyone who sees a dog in a car in hot weather, BC SPCA recommends taking the following steps:

1.   If the animal is showing clear signs of heatstroke or distress, call your local animal control agency, police, RCMP or the BC SPCA Call Centre at 1.855.622.7722. Do not attempt to break a window to rescue an animal; not only do you risk injuring the animal, but only RCMP, local police and BC SPCA special constables have the authority to enter a vehicle lawfully to help an animal.

2.   If the animal is not in distress, but you are concerned, note the licence plate and vehicle description and ask managers of nearby businesses to page the owner to return to their vehicle immediately. You can stay with the vehicle to monitor the situation until the owner returns.

The No Hot Pets pledge is available at spca.bc.ca/nohotpets.

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