File photo courtesy of ©Can Stock Photo / chalabala

Keeping our furry friends safe in the heat

It shouldn’t need to be said, but it’s not just people who need to be protected from extreme heat.

As temperatures soar into the mid-30s with humidex values in the 40s on Friday and Saturday, the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society is reminding everyone that pets need protection too. It has released a list of do’s and don’ts for pet owners as a blanket of heat covers the region.

First and foremost, do not leave a pet in a vehicle under any circumstances.

“If you can’t take your pet with you when you leave your car, leave them at home where they are safe,” said Jennifer Bluhm, acting chief of Animal Protection for the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society.

According to the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society, pets being left in vehicles on hot days continues to be a problem in Ontario despite repeated warnings about how dangerous it is. The interior of a parked vehicle can become like an oven within minutes on hot days, even when the windows are slightly rolled down or if the vehicle is in the shade.

Pet owners are also advised to make sure their pet has constant access to fresh water and a cool, sheltered place out of direct sunlight. Pets should also only be left outside for short periods of time.

“Use caution when exercising or playing with your pet during heat waves to prevent heat exhaustion,” said Bluhm. “We recommend going for walks in the early morning or evening when it’s cooler.”

It’s also important to know if your pet is more susceptible to heat exposure, according to the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society. Certain dog breeds can have a more difficult time in the heat. This includes Northern breeds, as well as dogs that are older, overweight, taking certain medications, or those with certain medical conditions.

If you observe an animal suffering in the heat, call 1-833-9ANIMAL (1-833-926-4625).