Hot dog reports surging this year, says SPCA

Suzanne Pugh of the Kelowna SPCA demonstrates an infrared thermometer.

KELOWNA - Even as they staged a demonstration, the B.C. SPCA received a real hot dog call about an animal left for 45 minutes in vehicle in downtown Kelowna.

“This one’s for real,” Kelowna SPCA branch manager Suzanne Pugh said.

Pugh was demonstrating an infrared thermometer which allows accurate readings of the inside termperatures of closed vehicles.

A record number of hot dog calls - dogs left in over-heated vehicles - and hot weather in the forecast has the B.C. SPCA and the Central Okanagan Regional District warning pet owners about the possibly fatal consequences.

Last year, the SPCA received over 1,100 such calls across the province. By this time last year, the number of reports had reached 514. There has been 840 hot dog calls this year already. The society has responded to 80 calls in Kelowna in 2015.

“Each summer our agencies rescue dogs whose lives are in endangered this way," Pugh says. "Well-meaning guardians leave their pets in parked vehicles while they run errands, thinking they will be safe for a short period. Tragically, in hot weather, their pets can suffer serious heatstroke and die in a matter of minutes.”

She says dogs can handle high temperatures for just a short time before, no more than 20 minutes, before suffering organ and brain damage or death.

Kelowna RCMP Const. Steve Holmes says the detachment has already responded to 53 hot dog calls this year, up sharply from last year.

“Leaving your pet at  home and  is the best thing to do if you are shopping," he says."If you must take your pet, make sure there is a second person who can stay with your pet in a shaded area."

Holmes says people who notice a dog in distress should take down the license plate and ask managers of nearby business to page the owners.

They should call the B.C. SPCA abuse hotline at 1-855-622-7722 or the RCMP to report the incident.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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