Dog days of summer carry a risk to pets

Just a few simple precautions can ensure that our summer fun doesn’t come at the expense of our four-legged friends

The sun is shining, the smell of barbecues waft through the air, the cooling waters of Okanagan lakes beckon, and the streets are filled with residents and tourists on their way to one of any number of festival and events the area has to offer. What could be better than summer in the Peach City?

With Penticton now squarely in the grips of Peachfest, the lure to get out and about is irresistible. But don’t let the temptation to enjoy all the Okanagan has to offer put your best friend at risk.

The South Okanagan SPCA is concerned with the growing number of reports it has been receiving of dogs left unattended in vehicles.

The Okanagan sun can send the temperature inside a vehicle to 40 C in just a few minutes. Dogs can withstand high temperatures for only a very short time before suffering irreparable brain damage or even death. That quick trip to the store can carry a high cost.

“Dogs can die after just 10 minutes in a hot car,” said Craig Naherniak, humane education general manager with the B.C. SPCA. “It’s much kinder and far safer to leave your friend in a cool environment.”

If you observe a dog inside a vehicle, the SPCA advises you to inform the owner without being confrontational. If the owner cannot be located, call the RCMP or SPCA and provide as many details as possible.

But vehicles aren’t the only summertime risk to a dog’s health. Use caution when running, cycling or rollerblading with your pet, as these activities can pose a serious health threat to dogs. The SPCA advises owners to exercise their dogs during cooler times of the day, take plenty of breaks and carry a container from which your dog can drink. Soft trails are also better than cement or asphalt, which can burn your pet’s foot pads.

Just a few simple precautions can ensure that our summer fun doesn’t come at the expense of our four-legged friends.


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