Every year as the weather warms up, it’s important to be pet aware and take precautions – including not leaving pets in hot cars. Citizens and pet-owners alike are responsible for ensuring the safety of animals during the dog days of summer!
Within just an hour of sitting out in the summer sun, a car can reach unbearable temperatures – ranging from 35 degrees Celsius to 47 degrees Celsius. Even just five to 10 minutes waiting for their human to come back can cause serious damage to an animal’s body and brain in those temperatures. Animals don’t have the same sweat glands as we do so these conditions aren’t just uncomfortable, they can be deadly. Signs of distress can include: vomiting, excessive drooling, weakness, convulsions, and exaggerated panting (or completely stopped panting.)
If you do see a pet in a car that seems to be exhibiting signs of distress as outlined above – whether the windows are up or cracked open a bit – avoid the urge to smash the window to free the animal. This is breaking the law and considered property damage; anyone can still be held liable for damages even if your intentions are good. Instead, take down the vehicle’s license, make, model, and location, and call 911 for help.
Pet owners should also be vigilant during walks throughout the Summer. On especially hot days when temperatures reach or exceed 40 °C with the humidex, all dogs should have very limited outdoor activity during peak hours (8 am – 8 pm), regardless of age or breed as the risk of heat-related illness is severe.
Dogs with flat faces, like Pugs, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, young puppies, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
Always ensure that your pet has access to fresh, clean water and access to shade (when spending time outdoors). It is also recommended to avoid asphalt on hot days to prevent potential burns to the pads of their paws.
While it is okay to trim your pet’s hair in the summer, make sure to leave at least 1-inch of fur. Never fully shave your pets; pet hair protects them from sunburn, and hot temperatures. Additionally, the darker the dog’s fur the more heat it will absorb. Therefore, dogs with black fur are at a higher risk of overheating.
While keeping your pet indoors more frequently during especially hot days, they may become bored. This is not ideal, as boredom can sometimes lead to mischievous or destructive behaviour. To counteract this, make sure to provide them with adequate mental and physical stimulation. Options include: puzzle toys, snuffle mats, and treat-dispensing balls. Another great way to keep your pet entertained is by teaching them new tricks!
If you have non-emergency concerns about the welfare of an animal, call: 1-833-9-ANIMAL (264625).