Keep pets out of parked cars in hot weather, SPCA warns
Dogs can show immediate signs of heat-related illness
Veterinarians and the SPCA are continuing to warn pet owners to leave their pets at home, and not in parked cars, during the summer.
The temperature hit 34.7 C on Monday in Fredericton, which caused some local sports teams to cancel games.
The hot summer temperatures can be dangerous for animals left inside a vehicle while their owners are in stores or enjoying the outdoors.
Hilary Howes, the executive director of the New Brunswick SPCA, said he hopes pet owners would just keep their pets out of hot cars in any weather.
He said the SPCA receives about 1,500 calls a year from people concerned about animals in cars. But in the summer, there are definitely more calls related to the heat.
"Dogs only perspire through their tongues and their feet so they can't cool themselves," Howes said.
"So when they get in the car, as soon as you get a five-degree temperature swing inside the car. If it goes up over [24 C] degrees, that animal is going to get very sick, very quickly."
The temperature inside a car can quickly spike far higher than outside.
On Monday afternoon, when the temperature was 30 C outside in Fredericton, a special hand-held unit used by animal protection officers showed that it was roughly 50 C inside a parked CBC van.
Active cooling of pets
Amy Schneider, who has worked as a veterinarian for last 15 years, said animals dealing with a heat-related illness can quickly demonstrate obvious symptoms.
She said heaving panting, drooling or just odd behaviour can indicate a pet is in trouble.
Schneider said a pet owner should call a veterinarian and take a few quick steps.
"Start active cooling with your dog as quickly as possible before you get to the veterinarian, which would basically involve using cool water, not cold, too cold can actually make your dog worse," she said.
"Cool water on the extremities of the dog. So on the feet, on the ears. Offering cool water to your dog if your dog is able to drink. But if your dog is unable to drink don't force it."
The message is getting across to many pet owners.
Myriam McGraw has had her dog, Daisy, for eight months.
During the warm weather, McGraw said she doesn't take any chances.
Asked if she would ever keep Daisy in a locked car, she's quick to respond.
"Never. Never. Never," McGraw said.
"If I do go in for one second and I leave her there, all the windows are down. If it's a hot day like this one, never. She's never going stay in the car by herself."