Better to leave Rover at home than in vehicle during hot weather

Temperature in car can rise over 50 degrees in less than 10 minutes

Animal enforcement officers in Red Deer have seen an an increase in the last month in calls with people leaving their dogs in vehicles during hot weather, something than can be life-threatening to pets.

Duane Thomas, Director of Enforcement Operations for Alberta Animal Services, said Thursday that the calls relate mainly to people going to malls and places like that.

“They’re better off to leave Rover at home where it’s definitely colder inside, and where they have access to water.” Friday’s forecast high is 29C. The weekend is expected to nearly as hot.

If people do need to take their animals with them, they should bring lots of water, he said. He also suggests when people go into a store for example, they leave someone in the vehicle with their pet, and the air conditioning turned on.

Even if people park in a shaded area and leave the windows cracked, on a hot day like Thursday, the temperature in a vehicle can rise over 50 degrees in less than 10 minutes, Thomas said.

“It’s definitely not a good option for animals if they are stuck in a vehicle like that.”

Charges can be laid in cases where animals are in distress in vehicles. RCMP would be called in to assist Alberta Animal Services.

Thomas said he understands that people want to take their pets wherever they go because they are part of the family, however they have to realize the pet doesn’t want to sit in the vehicle while they are gone — they want to be with their owners.

If you leave your dog at home in the yard when it’s hot, make sure the dog has access to shaded area and lots of water. On really hot days it’s probably better to leave them inside the house where it is cooler.

The biggest thing with dogs is they don’t sweat and their fur is made for retaining heat. The only way they can cool off is through panting, and they loose a lot of water retention in hot temperatures, Thomas said.

Another hot weather tip Alberta Animal Services offers is to not plan long walks or go jogging in the heat of the day, which can be life-threatening for some dogs. Plan exercise and outdoor activities in the relative coolness of morning and evening. Bring along fresh water or a collapsible drinking bowl to allow your pet to get a cool drink when needed.

barr@reddeeradvocate.com

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