The BC SPCA is urging pet owners to not leave their pets in parked vehicles even with a slightly-open window is still not safe for your dog. (BC SPCA photo/Lakes District News)

The BC SPCA is urging pet owners to not leave their pets in parked vehicles even with a slightly-open window is still not safe for your dog. (BC SPCA photo/Lakes District News)

Pets and hot vehicles a dangerous mix, says BC SPCA

Warns pet owners to not leave pets in cars

With summer and the heat wave this past week, it is becoming increasingly important to sound the alarm for pet owners to ensure their pets are safe during the summer heat.

The BC SPCA is warning people to leave their pets at home instead of taking them out in the scorching heat. They are especially particular about reminding pet owners not to leave their pets in vehicles during the summer month.

Last year, the BC SPCA responded to 800 calls about animals in distress inside hot cars.

“We can’t stress strongly enough how dangerous it is to leave your pet in a hot car,” said Lorie Chortyk, general manager of communications for the BC SPCA. “The temperature in a parked car, even in the shade with windows partially open, can rapidly reach a level that can seriously harm or even kill a pet.”

According to Chortyk, because d0gs have no sweat glands, they can only cool themselves by panting and through their paws however with heat, it becomes strenuous for the dogs when panting.

“Dogs cannot withstand high temperatures for long periods particularly older pets and brachycephalic breeds such as pugs, bulldogs, Boston terriers and others with compressed faces,” she said.

Chortyk also noted that each summer, SPCA officers are called out to “worst case” situations where a beloved pet is in critical distress or has died after being left in a hot car.

“It is a completely preventable tragedy for both the poor animal and their distraught guardian.”

If you see a dog in distress or locked up inside a car, note the license plate and vehicle information and ask the local shop owners to call for the car owner immediately. Next step is to call BC SPCA, animal control or a local law enforcement agency, to report the situation.

It is important to note that it is illegal for the public to bread a window to access the vehicle themselves and only the RCMP, police and special provincial constables of the BC SPCA can lawfully enter such a vehicle.

Alistair Schroff of Lakes Animal Friendship Society reiterated this message from the BC SPCA and said that pets need access to cool, shady places preferably next to a fan or a nice air conditioned spot in the house with their family and need their water bowls filled with clean water all day – not just summer, but every day of the year. Schroff also added that wet cat food helps keep cats hydrated.

If someone sees a pet in a hot car the quickest call is to the Burns Lake RCMP (250) 692-7171, he said.