Pet safety at top of mind for BC SPCA as temperatures soar

People walk their dogs along Dallas Road in Victoria. (CTV News)

The BC SPCA is offering tips to pet owners on how to keep their four-legged friends safe as the temperature rises.

The animal advocacy organization says the most important tip of all is never to leave animals in cars.

"Our call centre gets calls all summer long about dogs in hot cars," said BC SPCA Victoria branch manager Emma Hamill.

"Even for a short amount of time, a dog in a locked car, even with the windows down a little bit, it too hot and they can go into heat stroke and cardiac arrest really quickly."

Hamill says if you are outside with you dog, be sure to watch for signs of distress like lethargy and heavy panting. She says if your dog is showing signs it is too hot, you should immediately get your pet inside because it's time to cool them down.

"In extreme cases you’ll see them start to vomit and we want to prevent it from getting to that point," she said.

Hamill says there are ways you can make cooling your pet fun. She says one way is to freeze some of your pet’s favourite treats in ice-cube trays as a cool snack for them to enjoy.

"Make it fun, whether you have a kiddie pool in your backyard or just a fan, there’s a lot of fun ways to keep them cool," said Hamill. "The main thing is that you are really safe and your pets are too."

WALKS

The organization says another way to minimize your pets discomfort during the heat of summer is to adjust when you go for a walk.

Walking your dog in the early morning or late evening when the pavement isn’t as hot helps avoid the impact of the heat.

"Before you take your dog out, take your bare foot, put it on the pavement for five seconds and if it's too hot for you, it is too hot for them," said Hamill.

"Their paws are really sensitive and that’s how they cool themselves down because that’s where they sweat from so make sure it isn’t too hot for them," she said.

Hamill says the best way to keep your pets cool and safe is to keep them indoors during the mid-day, when temperatures are at their hottest.

"Make sure they are kept in cool areas inside," said Hamill. "Have you blinds closed, have your air-conditioning on if you have it, and make sure your pets are safe because they can overheat so quickly."

More information on pet care during the summer can be found on the BC SPCA website.