B.C. SPCA reminds pet owners to not leave animals in hot cars

If you need to leave your pets in a parked car, leave them at home.

This is the message from B.C. SPCA to pet owners as record high temperatures are expected this week across the province.

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The provincial animal agency is urging pet owners to leave their pets at home if there is any chance the animal will be left in the car for even a minute.

Lorie Chortyk, general manager of communities for B.C. SPCA, said the agency received over 800 calls about animals in distress in hot cars last year.

“We can’t stress strongly enough how dangerous it is to leave your pet in a hot car,” said Chortyk.

“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.”

She added that dogs have no sweat glands and only cool themselves by panting and releasing heat through their paws.

Symptoms of heatstroke in pets include exaggerated panting, salivation, anxious or staring expression, weakness, lack of coordination and vomiting.

Older dogs and breeds of dogs with compressed faces, such as pugs, bulldog and Boston terriers, are particularly at risk.

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

What to do if you see a distressed dog in a parked vehicle:

• Note the license plate and vehicle information and ask nearby businesses to page the owner to return to their vehicle.

• Call the B.C. SPCA, animal control or law enforcement if an animal is in distress. Do not break the window to access the vehicles.

• Spread the word that it is dangerous for pets to stay in hot vehicles.

• Anyone who sees animals showing signs of heatstroke or general distress are asked to call the B.C. SPCA at 1-855-622-7722 during business hours or contact the local animal control agency or police.

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