B.C. SPCA inundated with cases of dogs left in hot cars despite repeated warnings

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Last month alone, the B.C. SPCA responded to 228 calls to rescue dogs in distress that had been left in hot cars by their guardians.

With temperatures soaring across British Columbia this week, the SPCA is urging people to leave their pets at home if they can’t keep them safe.

“The temperature in a parked car, even in the shade with windows partly open, can rapidly reach a level that will seriously harm or even kill a pet,” General Manager of Community Relations for the B.C. SPCA, Lorie Chortyk said. “In just minutes, the temperature in a parked car can climb to well over 38 degrees. Dogs have no sweat glands, so they can only cool themselves by panting and by releasing heat through their paws.”

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The SPCA says dogs can withstand high temperatures for only a very short time, in some cases just minutes, before suffering irreparable brain damage or death.

You should remain alert to heatstroke symptoms, which include exaggerated panting (or the sudden stopping of panting), rapid or erratic pulse, salivation, anxious or starling expression, weakness and muscle tremors, lack of coordination, convulsions or vomiting and collapsing.

The SPCA recommends you do the following if your dog shows symptoms of heatstroke.

· Immediately move the animal to a cool, shady place.

· Wet the dog with cool water.

· Fan vigorously to promote evaporation, which will cool the blood, reducing the animal’s core temperature.

· Do not apply ice. This constricts blood flow, which will inhibit cooling.

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· Allow the dog to drink some cool water (or to lick ice cream if no water is available).

· Take the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible for further treatment.

 “If you’re used to letting your dog accompany you on errands, you might feel guilty leaving him behind on hot summer days,” Chortyk concluded.  But your dog will be much happier, and safer at home with shade and plenty of fresh cool water.” 

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