The calendar may not say it, but is sure feels like summer outside and the Lloydminster and District SPCA is reintroducing the summer-long No Hot Pets campaign.
“I think sometimes people don’t realize how hot it gets and how quickly,” said Anmarie Bailey, funding and communications co-ordinator for the local SPCA. “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.”
The No Hot Pets campaign urges people not to leave pets in turned off vehicles and asks citizens to spread the message about the dangers of doing so.
Bailey says that in many cases, it takes only a couple of minutes for a pet’s internal temperature to rise drastically. Dogs, specifically, have a limited ability to sweat. 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.
She says that if a pet must be left inside a vehicle, it’s not enough to just leave the windows down and turn the automobile off.
“Air condition is OK. However, it should be a running air condition,” Bailey said. “If your car is temperature-regulated, so if your air condition shuts off at a certain temperature then we recommend that people set it at the lowest setting.”
The No Hot Pets campaign welcomes people to take an online pledge not to leave pets in their turned off automobiles. The SPCA offers pledgers a No Hot Pets window decal for their vehicles. The campaign also encourages people to include #NoHotPets in their social media posts.
“Last summer, the campaign reached over two million people online and received over 11,000 pledges,” said Bailey, “and 129 organizations or companies across Canada partnered with the campaign.”
In 2012, the Ontario SPCA, which initiated the campaign, received the Summit Award in communications to recognize the development and successful delivery of content, communications programs, strategies and initiatives that promote a better environment for pets.
According to the SPCA, signs of a pet suffering a heat stroke include excessive panting and drooling, listlessness or unconsciousness, and prompt veterinary medical attention is crucial. In the meantime, wet the fur immediately with lukewarm to cool water - not cold water - and bring the pet into the shade and offer drinking water.