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Pets and hot cars don't mix: RCMP warn

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
June 07, 2017 - 2:24 PM

KELOWNA – Local RCMP and the B.C. SPCA are hoping for far fewer calls about dogs left in cars on hot days this summer.

“Each summer our agencies receive hundreds of emergency calls to rescue dogs whose lives are endangered because they are left in hot cars,” B.C. SPCA Kelowna Branch manager Sean Hogan says in a media release. “Many 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.”

The temperature in a parked car, Hogan says, even in the shade with windows partly open, can rapidly reach a level that will seriously harm or even kill a pet. The temperature in a parked car can climb to well over 38 Celsius in minutes, and without sweat glands, dogs are unable to cool themselves.

Dogs can withstand high temperatures for only a very short time – usually just 15 to 20 minutes - before suffering irreparable internal organ and brain damage or death.

“If you’re used to letting your pets accompany you on errands, you might feel guilty leaving them behind on hot summer days. But they will be much happier – and safer – at home, with shade and plenty of fresh, cool water. If you must travel with your pets, keep them cool," he says.

Rain is forecast for the next few days, however spring has been significantly warmer this year in the Okanagan. With temperatures climbing, the B.C. SPCA, the Regional District of the Central Okanagan and Kelowna RCMP gathered at Orchard Park Mall today, June 7.

Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey says police make these type of calls a priority and hope more education and prevention could save resources for other emergencies.

“This is a preventable problem and we strongly urge all pet guardians to leave their animals at home during hot days,” Regional District communications officer Bruce Smith says in the release.

If you see a dog that looks in distress, write down the licence plate number and try to locate the owner.

If no owner is found, or if the animal is suffering symptoms of heatstroke, call the Kelowna SPCA at 250-861-7722 and in an emergency, call 911 for RCMP attendance. More information is available at the SPCA website.

Symptoms of heatstroke in pets include exaggerated panting, rapid or erratic pulse, salivation, anxious or staring expression, weakness and muscle tremors, lack of coordination, convulsions, vomiting and collapse. If your pet shows symptoms of heatstroke immediately move the animal to a cool, shady place, wet the dog with cool water and fan vigorously to promote evaporation.

Do not apply ice. This constricts blood flow, which will inhibit cooling. Allow the animal to drink some cool water or lick ice cream and take the animal to a veterinarian as soon as possible for further treatment.

The release also reminds good Samaritans it is illegal for members of the public to break a window to access the vehicle. Only RCMP members or a Special Provincial Constables can legally do that. As well, SPCA branch staff and volunteers cannot enter vehicles without permission of its owner. 


To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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