Canine care

Bonnie Learning
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SPCA implores residents to take extra care of their dogs when temperatures rise

The Happy Valley-Goose Bay SPCA warns pet owners to never leave their pet in a vehicle for any period of time in warm or hot temperatures - even with the windows down or window shades on - as they can be quickly overcome with the heat, leading to possible death.

The Happy Valley-Goose Bay wants the pet-owning public to take extra precautions when caring for their four-legged family members this summer - in particular, their dogs - as temperatures continue to climb.

"There are many pet owners who take their dog (s) with them in their vehicle, when running errands or other tasks," said Lee Hill, SPCA president.

"But when it comes to the summer season, leaving your animals in a locked vehicle can literally become a death sentence for an animal in warm or hot temperatures."

Hill said when temperatures reach even 22 degrees C, the temperature inside a car can reach 47 degrees C within just a half hour.

"Of course, we know that dogs pant to keep cool, and being inside a vehicle prevents them from doing that effectively," said Hill.

"Even having the windows rolled down or shades on the windows won't cool the inside of the vehicle enough to make it comfortable for your dog."

Hill added many people take their dogs with them to run errands, with the intention of just being a 'couple of minutes' here and there.

"It is very easy to get sidetracked when out around - running into a friend for a chat, an insanely long line at the checkout counter - any number of situations can arise that might detain you from getting back to your car in a timely manner."

She said this also pertains to people who insist on taking their dogs with them in the open pan of their truck - which is now an offence under the province's new Animal Protection Act.

"A dog in a pan of a truck not only runs the risk of dying from the heat as there is no access to shade, but also the risk of being thrown from the vehicle at anytime should the driver make a sudden stop or become involved in an accident."

Hill said if the temperatures are too warm, the best course of action is to leave the dogs at home, in a cool house.

"You are risking your dog's life just to dart into the store for just a few minutes," she said.

"Your dog will not mind at all being left at home; in fact, they will love you for it."

Hill also noted with the summer upon us, it is imperative that those who have their animals tethered for any amount of time outside have access to shade i.e. a proper built and well ventilated dog house; as well as clean, fresh food and water at all times, with the water, in particular, being changed several times a day.

She added those animals tied on should also have free range of motion at all times, in order to exercise.

"Basically, if your dog is going to be outside tied on all day, they need more than a six-foot chain," she said. "Ideally, they would be on a 'pulley' system attached to a clothesline or something similar. Best case scenario: they are not outside long enough to require such a system at all, but rather taken into the house frequently to get out of the extreme temperatures, both summer and winter."

She added as per the new Animal Control Act regulations, violations of the Act are enforceable by members of the RCMP "Any resident of the community is able to contact the RCMP or Crimestoppers should they want to report a suspected case of animal abuse or neglect," said Hill.

"We - the SPCA - are not the only ones who have a responsibility to look out for the well-being of animals; we are all responsible to speak for those who cannot."


Editor's Note: The dogs pictured - Lilly (left) and Puppy - are the family dogs of Editor Bonnie Learning. The picture was taken for illustrative purposes only. Her dogs are fine.

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Happy Valley, Goose Bay

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