BC SPCA Wants You To Know Heat Kills In 10 Minutes

27 Jun


We are dog owners and animal lovers thus why we think it’s important to share this recent message from the BC SPCA.  We have seen ourselves first hand dogs struggling in cars in the heat of the summer.  As the video we’ve included states even temperatures as low as 16 to 20 degrees, which may be comfortable for YOU as a human, is not for a dog. Temperatures inside a vehicle can still reach 38 degrees and dogs have died.  It is unnecessary suffering for these animals.  We appreciate many people are well intentioned and want to take their dogs with them. We certainly get that, but either opt to choose to go places where you know you can take your pet with you, or leave them at home.  We invite you to check out this brief video by the BC SPCA which explains how dogs cooling system works, it’s not very effective compared to us humans especially in certain breeds with a short muzzle.  Take a listen.


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

  • Note the license plate and vehicle information and ask managers of nearby businesses to page the owner to return to their vehicle immediately;
  • Is the animal in distress? Call your local animal control agency, police, or the BC SPCA hotline at 1-855-622-7722 as soon as possible.
  • PLEASE NOTE: It is illegal for members of the public to break a window to access the vehicle themselves; only RCMP and Special Provincial Constables of the BC SPCA can lawfully enter a vehicle. SPCA branch staff and volunteers cannot enter vehicles.
  • Keep emergency supplies – bottled water, a small bowl, a towel that can be soaked in water- in your car so that you help hydrate an animal (if a window has been left open) while you wait for emergency response; a battery-powered fan from a dollar store also can be handy to circulate air.

Show Your Support For Pets In Businesses

Have a pet-friendly business or know of one (businesses that allow pets on the premises)? Download the BC SPCA’s poster that identifies your place as a pet-friendly business (PDF).

Dogs can’t release heat by sweating

In just minutes, the temperature in a parked car can climb to well over 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). Dogs have no sweat glands, so they can only cool themselves by panting and by releasing heat through their paws, which they cannot do in a vehicle that has become an oven.  Dogs can withstand high temperatures for only a very short time – in some cases just minutes – before suffering irreparable brain damage or death.

BC SPCA reminds pet guardians to be alert to heatstroke symptoms, which include: exaggerated panting (or the sudden stopping of panting), rapid or erratic pulse, salivation, anxious or staring expression, weakness and muscle tremors, lack of coordination, convulsions or vomiting, and collapse.

If your dog shows symptoms of heatstroke, you should do the following:

  • Immediately move the animal to a cool, shady place
  • Wet the dog with cool water
  • Fan vigorously to promote evaporation. This will cool the blood, which reduces the animal’s core temperature.
  • Do not apply ice. This constricts blood flow, which will inhibit cooling.
  • 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.

“Your dog will be much happier – and safer – at home, with shade and plenty of fresh cool water,” says Lorie Chortyk, General Manager of Community Relations for the BC SPCA.  “It is such a preventable tragedy.” We agree.  In the warm weather, please be kind, leave your pet behind. If you are going to out for some time, get help from neighbours or a dog walker to take your dog out while you are away from home.  There are so many safer options available.

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