You should never leave a dog in a hot car but you should also try not to get too hot when you see one in a lukewarm car.
August’s summer sun is setting in and Ucluelet’s police have responded to several recent reports of dogs being left in cars without proper ventilation, according to Const. Marcel Midlane of the Ucluelet RCMP.
“Please leave your dogs at home if you can or, if you can’t, leave the vehicle well ventilated with the windows down enough that they’re getting lots of airflow inside and leave some water inside,” Midlane told the Westerly News.
“Everybody gets up in arms about dogs being trapped in vehicles and we’ve been getting more complaints with the warmer weather.”
He added anyone who leaves a dog in their vehicle with the windows rolled up, could come back to find one of those windows busted into.
“If a dog is trapped inside a vehicle, and if it is in harm’s way from possible heat exhaustion, the vehicle will be opened up with whatever means necessary to extract the dog and potential fines may follow for the dog’s owner if it’s found that the dog was put into an unsafe situation,” he said.
He cautioned locals against taking matters into their own hands before calling 911.
“I don’t want to give people the impression that they can go around smashing people’s windows,” he said. “Please give us a call first and let us know what’s going on and, given the details and description of what you’re explaining to us, we’ll let you know if that’s okay.”
He said cars can heat up quickly causing dogs to overheat and the simple act of leaving the windows open could save lives and stress.
“You can usually guarantee that the heat inside the car on a sunny day is going to be about 10 degrees warmer, at least, than the outside temperature,” he said. “If people leave their windows down significantly enough for some breeze to get in, and leave water out so the dog can stay hydrated, that would create less calls and less panic from the public about hot dogs.”
Local dog lover, and owner of Ucluelet’s Ocean Pet Supplies, Carla Anderson told the Westerly anyone who leaves their dog in a hot car is putting that dog’s life at risk.
“You can kill them. I know multiple people who have lost their dogs from leaving them in a vehicle. It gets way too hot really fast and they absolutely will die,” she said.
“It’s a life. If you left your cat in the car it would die, if you left your bird in the car it would die, if you left your kid in the car, unattended on a hot sunny day for an hour, they would die. It happens all the time.”
Anderson added a friend of hers lost a dog after leaving it in a hot car.
“She went to Nanaimo, left him in the car, went in to do some shopping, came out and he was panting and slobbering and totally overheating and they took him to the vet and he died from heat exhaustion,” she said.
She was happy to hear local police are paying attention to the issue but cautioned dog lovers against being overzealous.
“It’s nice to see the authorities taking note of it for sure as long as it doesn’t get out of control and it’s usually not the authorities that are out of control; it’s Joe Public who gets a little crazy,” she said.
“If it’s 14 degrees outside on a cloudy fall day and you run to the store and bring your dog and leave your windows rolled down and the dog is fine and sleeping, you can come back to your car and have a group of people around it screaming at you, ‘How dare you, you left your dog in the car.’ It’s gotten a little crazy.”
She advises locals to educate themselves on the symptoms dogs display when they are overheating, which include: rapid panting, thick saliva, vomiting, and despondent behaviour.