Our mission: To protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.

 July 31, 2014

As the temperature rises, so do the risks for your pet.

As you prepare for fun in the sun, the BC SPCA offers five tips to keep your pets safe:

  1. Don't ever leave your pet in the car. Even a vehicle parked in the shade with the windows open can become a death trap for your pet in as little as 10 minutes. Dogs don’t have the ability to release heat from their bodies by perspiring as humans do and can suffer heatstroke and death in a matter of minutes. This July, BC SPCA officers responded to more than 300 calls of dogs in distress in hot vehicles.

  2. Use caution when running, cycling or rollerblading with your pet, as these activities pose serious risks of heatstroke and heat exhaustion. If you do exercise with your dog, choose cooler times of day such as early morning or late evening and take plenty of breaks. Look for soft trails rather than cement and asphalt, which can burn your pet's foot pads.

  3. Ensure your pets – dogs, cats and small animals – have water available at all times. Never leave animals unattended in a yard without access to shade or shelter from the sun.

  4. Don’t leave rabbit or small animal enclosures near a window in direct sunlight or outdoors in a sunny area.

  5. Keep the number of a veterinarian on hand so that you are prepared in case of an emergency and watch for signs of heatstroke – exaggerated panting, rapid or erratic pulse, salivation, anxious or staring expression, weakness and muscle tremors, lack of coordination, convulsions or vomiting, and collapse.

If your pet shows symptoms of heatstroke, you should do the following:

  • Immediately move the animal to a cool, shady place

  • Wet them with cool water

  • Fan vigorously to promote evaporation. This will cool the blood, which reduces the animal’s core temperature.

  • Do not apply ice. This constricts blood flow, which will inhibit cooling.

  • Give your pet some cool water (or get them to lick ice cream if no water is available)

  • Take your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible for further treatment.

Find out more about pet safety.

The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.

Don’t have email? Don’t worry! Call us at 1-800-665-1868


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