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Hot weather sparks calls to save hot pets trapped in cars

The heatwave has various organizations again responding to pleas to help animals trapped in hot cars.

Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo & Stratford Perth (HSKWSP) Director of Community Engagement And Outreach, Calla James, is urging pet owners to avoid leaving their animals in vehicles in hot weather.

"As temperatures have increased this week and earlier this spring, a little earlier than normal, we're still having to talk about the dangers of leaving pets in hot cars. And I really wish we didn't have to keep having this conversation. But for some reason, it still happens every year," said James.

Even on moderately warm days, parked cars can easily reach lethal temperatures, despite being in the shade and with the windows down.

"I keep sending this message out year-over-year to explain how dangerous it is, and how fast a pet can be extremely injured or succumb to death in a hot car," she added. "And so we really want people in the community to understand that there is absolutely no reason a pet should be left in a car unattended."

Since animals, particularly dogs and cats, have a limited capacity to perspire, even a brief exposure to high temperatures can be fatal.

"So a dog's normal body temperature is roughly 39 degrees, a body temperature of just two degrees higher, so 41 degrees Celsius, can be withstood for a very short period of time before that dog can have brain damage or death can even occur," James explained. "So when people say I'm only going to be gone a minute, that does not matter, because it is a matter of minutes that can make a life or death situation."

A vet should be seen if a dog is showing signs of heat stroke like excessive panting, drooling, or listlessness.

"Heat stroke that is absolutely a medical emergency. You're gonna see things like excessive panting dark red gums. They may collapse or they may even be unresponsive and if they're suffering from heatstroke, you need to immediately seek veterinary attention," she pointed out. "To start the cooling process. You can do things like using cool claws and cool water don't use ice cold water. You don't want to shock their system and keep the pet cool and so you can get to a vet."

"If they're suffering from heat exhaustion you're gonna see them panting a little bit more. They're gonna be more lethargic and may be searching for water. We want to immediately get them into a cool space so that the in the shade and a breeze ideally in air conditioning, offer them some drinking water and giving them time to rest," explained James.

“Leaving your pet unattended in a vehicle is not only one of the most irresponsible things that a pet owner can do, it’s also illegal,” said Kathrin Delutis, chief executive officer. “Pet owners are subject to fines and charges under The Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act and under local bylaws.”

If you see a pet inside a hot automobile, please call your local police department or the provincial animal welfare services. If residents have any questions, they can also contact the Humane Society.

James said calls to help hot pets are received by various organizations every year.

"It can vary each year. So we can also receive calls and it's also important to note that other organizations can receive calls," said James. "Police and provincial animal welfare services also receive calls for these types of things. So call volumes can vary amongst all the organizations. We always encourage somebody, that if they see a dog in a hot car, that they can call their local police or provincial animal welfare services. We can also be in attendance as well to support, but if that dog does need to be removed from a car, legally police or provincial animal welfare services are the ones that have that ability."

"If you're going to be traveling to the cottage, or if you're going out and you bring your dog with you to do something, think about your route and your travel plans." urged James. "If I'm going to the cottage, I'm gonna have everything packed if I'm traveling by myself, because I need to get from point A to point B without making any stops. But if I'm traveling with another person, if I go into a store or need to get out of the car for any reason, that dog is still left attended by another person in the vehicle. It's always important to think about when you're leaving the house what your route is."

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