Go out in the car – leave your dog at home this summer


As the days begin to heat up, the SPCA is warning dog owners to leave their dogs at home if the road trip is not convenient for them.  (File photo)

MARTIN DE RUYTER / Tips

As the days begin to heat up, the SPCA is warning dog owners to leave their dogs at home if the road trip is not convenient for them. (File photo)

As temperatures rise, animal welfare advocates have a message for dog owners: don’t leave them alone in cars.

The SPCA is already receiving calls from concerned members of the public seeing dogs left alone in parked cars.

Southland, Tasman and West Coast SPCA team leader Jamie Hancock said the organization was constantly responding to calls about dogs left in hot cars.

She said nationally, between November 2020 and March 2021, there were 339 calls from members of the public.

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“In most of these cases the owners weren’t far away, but we have no way of knowing that was the case… and we spent a considerable amount of time tracking down those owners, which takes us away from the others. animal protection work. “

People shouldn’t leave dogs in cars at all, she said, but there were things people could do to make sure their dogs were safe, including leaving contact details visible in the car or a note that the owner was only five minutes away.

Hancock said owners should also make sure the dog is registered with the board and that contact details are up to date “because we use it as a way to get in touch with people.”

If we can get in touch quickly, that may help resolve the issue, she said.

The fine alone should deter owners from leaving their dogs in cars.

Hancock said a $ 300 fine was the starting point if the SPCA responds with the dog showing signs of heat stress. If the worst were to happen, it could be a prosecutable offense.

Even with the windows down, dogs can overheat in cars, causing irreparable damage and even death.  (File photo)

FASTER BRADEN / STUFF

Even with the windows down, dogs can overheat in cars, causing irreparable damage and even death. (File photo)

But the damage to the wallet is nothing compared to the damage to a dog left in a car.

When it’s 21 degrees Celsius outside, the temperature in a car parked in the shade with the windows down can rise above 31 degrees in less than 10 minutes. In 30 minutes, it climbs to 40 degrees. On a hot day, the temperature inside the vehicle may exceed 50 degrees.

The dogs could not endure a body temperature above about 41 degrees for a few minutes before suffering “irreparable damage or dying,” Hancock said.

And some breeds were more at risk of being affected by heat than others, she said, brachycephalic (short muzzle, flat face) breeds including pugs and bull mastiffs have even more struggling to regulate their breathing and to cool down when panting – the equivalent of humans sweating.

“I would definitely be more nervous leaving a pug in a car than a mid-size crossover.”

But if you can avoid it, “don’t leave dogs in cars at all,” she said.

SPCA National Inspection Director Alan Wilson said SPCA inspectors were frustrated by some people’s ignorance of the damage leaving an animal in a vehicle could cause.

“A lot of these cases involve people who love their dog like a member of their family and would never want to be harmed, but they don’t seem to understand that the reckless decision to leave their pet in the car for a few minutes could result. in tragedy.


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