‘Dog days of summer’ dangerous

That’s the message from the BC SPCA as it ramps up efforts to raise awareness about the hazards of mixing summer heat and animals.

  • Aug. 24, 2012 11:00 a.m.

As the temperature rises, so do the risks for your pet.

That’s the message from the BC SPCA as it ramps up efforts to raise awareness about the hazards and potentially fatal consequences when mixing summer heat and animals.

Many people like to take their dogs with them to the beach or on errands, but it’s very risky to take your canine friend in your vehicle.

The temperature inside a parked car at this time of year, even one that’s in the shade, can climb well above 38 degrees.

Dogs can withstand high temperatures for only a short time before suffering irreparable brain damage or even death.

“Dogs can die after just 10 minutes in a hot car,” says Craig Naherniak, BC SPCA humane education general manager.

Naherniak recommends the following tips for keeping your dog safe:

  • Don’t leave your pet in the car.
  • Use caution when running, cycling or rollerblading with your pet, as these activities pose serious risks of heatstroke, accidents, and anxiety experienced by the animal. If you run or cycle with your dog, choose cooler times of day such as early morning or late evening and take plenty of breaks. Also, run on soft trails rather than on cement and asphalt, which can burn your pet’s foot pads.
  • Always take water and an appropriate container from which your dog can drink.
  • Have the number of a veterinarian on hand so that you are prepared in case of an emergency.

“If you see a dog in a car on a hot day that you believe may be in trouble, call your local SPCA, animal shelter, or police immediately,” advises Shawn Eccles, BC SPCA chief animal protection officer.

To avoid potential disaster, know the signs of heatstroke in pets: exaggerated panting (or the sudden stopping of panting), rapid or erratic pulse, salivation, weakness and muscle tremors, lack of coordination, convulsions or vomiting and collapse.

For more information on pet safety visit spca.bc.ca.