Owners putting pets in peril

Even having the windows open a bit may not help hot dogs in cars

  • Jul. 23, 2013 4:00 p.m.
This dog was left in a car in downtown Parksville with the windows rolled down only a few inches last week during the noon hour when the outdoor temperature had already reached 21 C.

This dog was left in a car in downtown Parksville with the windows rolled down only a few inches last week during the noon hour when the outdoor temperature had already reached 21 C.


NEWS Contributor

Hot dogs are not cool.

That is the message the B.C. S.P.C.A. is trying to emphasize this summer, especially during this recent heat wave.

Nadine Durante, branch manager for the Parksville Qualicum B.C. S.P.C.A., said they have have received quite a few calls this month concerning dogs being left alone in sweltering vehicles and she said it is quite concerning.

On July 17 they were called about a dog in a hot car at the Coombs Old Country Market and it needed to be rescued.

“We were called Wednesday and we asked the RCMP to attend because we only have one van and we were on another call.  The RCMP opened up the door and took the dog out,” she said.

Durante said the dog is fine but unfortunately some pet owners just aren’t getting the message.

“We get people who are disgruntled that we are attending but they don’t realize the consequences no matter how much we try to express that disaster that can happen. Unfortunately, people are not listening.”

She said there is a provincial cruelty hot line to report cases of dogs being left in hot vehicles. She said if people phone the non-emergency line of the RCMP, police will attended if they have resources available.

“My staff doesn’t have legal authority to break into a car.  If an animal has to be removed then we call the RCMP,” she explained.

While many people head outside at this time of year, they are not clear on some of the heat-related dangers of summer, especially when it comes to their pets.

She pointed out that the metal box in the back of a pickup truck gets hot and leather seats are more intense than fabric.

Even with the windows open a bit, a car can get much hotter than the outdoor temperature and dogs can experience great distress and potentially life-threatening harm such as heat stroke. Dogs have to pant to decrease their body temperature because they don’t have the sweat glands that people have.

Durante said she is saddened when people take their animals to certain outdoor events because that can be potentially harmful.

“The pavement is so hot.  How would you feel walking on it in bare feet?  If it is not comfortable for you how do you think animals feel?  They don’t perspire like us.”

Dr. Jeff Allen from the Bellevue Veterinary Clinic in Errington said he doesn’t get too many cases of dogs burning their pads from hot pavement, but it can happen and he believes people are becoming more aware of the dangers hot summer weather poses for pets.

He pointed out that just like small children, dogs can’t regulate their body temperature as easily as an adult can.

“They can only sweat through the pads on their feet and they can only blow off heat through panting,” he said.

He added smaller breeds like Pugs with pushed in faces don’t have a good air flow mechanism and they are even more susceptible to problems from the heat.

He said a dog in distress needs to be cooled down immediately and wet towels soaked in cold water wrapped around the dogs neck is helpful because that is where the blood vessels are close to the surface and you can get more rapid cooling.

He added that even dogs outside need shade and water, especially dogs with dark hair that absorbs heat.

To report a dog in distress call 1-855-622-7722.