Animal Protection Line

Your Vehicle is not a Dogsitter


As the temperature rises, so do the number of calls about dogs being left in vehicles.

Most people understand that leaving a pet in a vehicle on a hot day can lead to death or serious health problems for dogs in a very short period of time. However, even on mild summer days it does not take long for the temperature in a car to reach dangerous levels. The following chart shows the temperature inside a vehicle in a study conducted at San Francisco State University. The figures have been converted to Celsius from Fahrenheit.

The study also found that cracking the windows or parking in the shade did not have much impact on how hot a vehicle gets.

Heatstroke in Dogs

Dogs have limited ability to sweat so the effects of a warm vehicle are exacerbated for our canine friends. This means a dog can overheat and go into medical distress quickly. A warm vehicle creates a potentially lethal environment in a very short period of time.

If you see a dog inside a vehicle, call 911. Police can get to the dog to free it much quicker than an Alberta SPCA Peace Officer.

The Signs of Heatstroke

  • Listlessness
  • Excessive panting
  • Restlessness
  • Pet appears distressed

What to do if a dog is suffering from heatstroke

  • Move to a cool or shaded area and direct a fan on him/her
  • Begin to cool the body by placing cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, in the armpits and in in the groin area
  • Wet the ear flaps and paws with cool water
  • Transport to a veterinary clinic immediately
  • What not to do
  • Do not force water into your pet, but have it available if they show interest in drinking
  • Do not overcool the animal
  • Do not leave your pet unattended for any length of time

Dog owners who leave their dog in a hot vehicle could be charged under the Animal Protection Act. If convicted, the owner could face a maximum fine of up to $20,000 and a lifetime prohibition from owning animals.

Dan Kobe

Dan Kobe

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