Humane society reminds public not to leave pets in vehicles

The Estevan Humane Society is reminding the public not to leave their dogs in vehicles now that the Estevan area has experienced some warmer temperatures.

Jodi Kallis, who is the supervisor for the humane society’s shelter, said people should not leave their pets in their vehicles unless it is absolutely necessary.

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“If you’re going somewhere that you can’t take your pet inside with you, I would just leave them at home. It’s not safe for them to be in the car, even for a short period of time and even with the windows down. It can get really hot in there quickly.”

Pets can’t sweat like humans, so they rely on panting to cool off. Even when they’re panting, they can’t cool down fast enough in a hot vehicle on a typical late spring or summer day, and so they become susceptible to heat stroke or another health issue. 

If people do have to bring their pets with them, the best bet would be to find a way to tie them up outside.

They shouldn’t leave the vehicle running with the pet inside, either, she said, because if something happens to the air conditioning, it creates a problem for the pet. The exception is if someone is in the vehicle with the animal. 

Kallis has seen situations in Estevan in which pets have been left in vehicles, but she doesn’t believe it’s a common occurrence. Most pet owners are very responsible. 

“People think that they’re just running into the store for a few minutes, and they think it will be fine, but sometimes you get distracted in the store, and you forget that your pet is in the vehicle,” said Kallis.

If people do see an animal in a car on a hot day, they should contact the EPS or the animal control officer.

“We don’t recommend you breaking the window yourself or injuring yourself, so definitely call someone if you can’t locate anyone,” she said.

The Estevan Police Service reported a couple of times last week that it had been notified of pets being left in vehicles with the windows rolled up.

On days in which the temperature clears 30 C, which happened a couple of times in Estevan last week, an animal can suffer heat exhaustion within a few minutes. And if it’s a hot day outdoors, it will be even hotter inside a vehicle.

If an animal is suffering from heat exhaustion, Kallis recommends they reduce the animal’s temperature with cool water rather than ice, which she said won’t to help.

“You would like to put them in the shade, cool them down as quickly as possible. Get them into a cooler area.”

They should also take the animal to a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

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