Cars can become death traps in 10 minutes
“People don’t realize just how quickly their cars can become death traps for their pets – it can take as little as 10 minutes for the vehicle to reach temperatures where the animal can suffer irreparable brain damage or death,” says Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA.
“We know that if people are taking their pets with them, it’s because they love them and want to spend time with them, but we really do encourage pet guardians to please, leave their pets at home when they’re going out in the car.”
What to do if you see a dog in distress in a parked vehicle:
Note the license plate and vehicle information and ask managers of nearby businesses to page the owner to return to their vehicle immediately;
Is the animal in distress? Call your local animal control agency, police, or the BC SPCA hotline at 1-855-622-7722 as soon as possible. Note: It is illegal for members of the public to break a window to access the vehicle themselves; only RCMP and Special Provincial Constables of the BC SPCA can lawfully enter a vehicle. SPCA branch staff and volunteers cannot enter vehicles.
Keep emergency supplies – bottled water, a small bowl, a towel that can be soaked in water- in your car so that you help hydrate an animal (if a window has been left open) while you wait for emergency response; a battery-powered fan from a dollar store also can be handy to circulate air.
With our air quality continuing to deteriorate due to the wildfires here in BC, the question that many of us have is “will all this smoke affect my pets?”
If your pet is healthy then there really isn’t much to worry about. Like people, pets have built-in mechanisms to help us filter-out particulate matter from the air. However, you may notice that your pet is lethargic, has watery eyes, and may occasionally cough or sneeze more often. As is recommended for people, avoid strenuous exercise at this time.
If your pet suffers from respiratory, cardiovascular or eye conditions (e.g. dry eye), they are more at-risk of adverse reactions from poor air quality. Look for symptoms such as coughing, increased respiratory rate, difficulty breathing, eye redness, irritation or discharge. Definitely avoid strenuous activity / exercise and also situations that may cause your pet’s respiratory rate to increase (e.g. things that make them anxious).
Finally, if your pet is taking medication for a respiratory illness or an eye condition, ask your Veterinarian if their dosage needs to be adjusted until the air quality improves.
Tips To Help Keep Your Pets Safe During Poor Air Quality Conditions:
- Avoid exercising your pet outside when air quality is poor;
- Make sure they have access to plenty of fresh water;
- Keep all doors and windows closed, allow access to cooler areas of your home and keep fan/AC on;
- Avoid using fans / AC units that draw air in from the outside (most air systems have a ‘re-circulate’ option);
- consider buying an air filter (not just for your pets, but for you too!);
- If you have an outdoor cat, keep them indoors temporarily until air quality improves; and,
- If you smoke, do not do it near your pet. Under normal circumstances second-hand smoke is bad for animals, it may exacerbate symptoms during this time.
Stay safe! ~Dr. Renee Ferguson
Mountain View Veterinary Hospital.
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