‘No Hot Pets’ campaign targets pets left in cars

July 30, 2014   ·   0 Comments

DontForgetYourPet-webbannerBy Tabitha Wells – Every year, stories circulate about deaths of pets who suffocated or died of heat exposure because an owner forget them in a car. With the summer well under way, and people taking advantage of the summer heat and sunshine, the Ontario SPCA is asking pet owners to think about the safety of their pets.

“Leaving your pet unattended in a vehicle is one of the most irresponsible things an owner can do. Leave your pet at home and if you must take your pet, make sure that someone is with it  at all times,” says Carol Hulcoop, Branch Manager. “During the hot summer months, let’s keep everyone safe and cool.”

The Ontario SPCA’s Orangeville & District Branch launched an award-winning campaign this summer to help remind owners of the dangers of leaving pets unattended in a vehicle during hot summer months.

The campaign, called “No Hot Pets”, works to remind owners that even using preventive measures like leaving the window down slightly or parking in the shade is not enough during the summer heat.

Using an online forum, local residents and pet owners are asked to share the posters and leaflets around town about the dangers of leaving pets in their car, as well as asked to pledge not to leave pets in their vehicles.

“Dogs have a limited ability to sweat; even a short time in a hot environment can be life-threatening,” wrote Ms. Hulcoop in a press release. “A dog’s normal body temperature is about 39°C and a temperature of 41°C can be withstood only for a very short time before irreparable brain damage or even death can occur.”

It is important if your pet is suffering from heat stroke due to being left in an excessively hot area to seek prompt medical attention. Signs of heat stroke include excessive panting and drooling, listlessness or unconsciousness.

According to the OSPCA, if heat stroke is suspected, wet the fur immediately with lukewarm to cool water (avoid cold water) and bring the pet into the shade and offer drinking water in between taking the pet for medical attention.

While there are currently no statistics available on how many pets die each year from being left in vehicles, due to most incidents not being reported, the SPCA receives hundreds of reports each year of unattended animals in vehicles.

Although 15 to 20 minutes might not seem like a long time to us, a pet could suffer from heat stroke in that time, and depending on car temperatures pass out or die. Any owners caught leaving pets unattended in vehicles could face charges under the Ontario SPCA Act or the Criminal Code of Canada.

Anyone who observes an animal suffering in the heat is encouraged to call either the OSPCA or police.

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