Pets lives at risk when left behind in hot vehicles

Even when it is 20 degrees Celsius outside, temperatures in a vehicle can almost double, making it deadly to an animal.

The weather is getting warmer, and so comes the warning about hot dogs.

No, not those indigestible salty meat  cylinders found at the ballpark and on barbecues, but the animals being left inside vehicles.

The news about the six dogs, originally reported stolen but who had actually died of heat stroke while in the back of a dog walker’s pickup, is vile in itself, but it’s also the most harrowing example of why canines, or any pets, should never be left in a vehicle during warm weather.

Even when it is 20 degrees Celsius outside, temperatures in a vehicle can almost double, making it deadly to an animal.

However, every year, we hear about dogs being left in a vehicles while the drivers pop into a store or to the ATM, thinking they will only be gone for a second.

According to the B.C. SPCA, the temperature in a parked car, even in the shade with the windows partly open, can rapidly reach a level that will seriously harm or even kill your pet. Leaving your pet in a car with the air conditioning on is also taking a risk as many pets have died as the result of faulty air-conditioning systems.

The B.C. SPCA reports that dogs and cats cool themselves by panting and by releasing heat through their paws. In summer, the air and upholstery in a vehicle can heat up to high temperatures that make it impossible for pets to cool themselves resulting in heatstroke.

Signs of a dog in distress include exaggerated panting, rapid or erratic pulse, salivation, anxious or staring expression, weakness and muscle tremors, lack of co-ordination, overly red lips and tongue, convulsions,  collapse, coma, and death.

So if you can’t leave your pet at home, take it to a friend’s, or bring it with you, leash it in a shady area if possible, with some water. It will only take a second.

And if you see an animal in distress, look for the owner, or call the SPCA’s Animal Cruelty Hotline at 1-855-622-7722 or, as a last resort, call the RCMP.

-Vernon Morning Star