Nearly 1,000 calls are put into the B.C. SPCA each year asking for animals stuck inside vehicles on hot summer days to be rescued.
This July, B.C. SPCA is calling on all animal lovers to take a 'No Hot Pets' pledge, vowing to keep their animals out of hot vehicles and encourage others to do the same.
“We know that 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,” says Lorie Chortyk, general manager of communications for the B.C. SPCA.
“Even parked in the shade, with windows cracked open, the temperatures inside a vehicle can become deadly ... 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."
Dogs don't sweat in the same way humans do, says Chortyk, and can't release heat from their bodies as quickly, which can very quickly lead to heatstroke and heat exhaustion.
Signs of heatstroke include exaggerated panting, rapid or erratic pulse, salivating, anxious or staring expression, weakness or lack of coordination, vomiting, convulsions and collapse.
The B.C. SPCA recommends the following steps if you see a dog in a car in hot weather:
- 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.
- If the animal is not in distress, but you are concerned, note the license plate and vehicle description and ask managers of nearby businesses to page the owner to return to their vehicle immediately. You may wish to stay with the vehicle to monitor the situation until the owner returns.
To take the No Hot Pets pledge, visit this website.
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