June 19, 2009 16:49 ET

The Heat is On for Animals Says The Humane Society of Canada (HSC)

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, Health/Medical Editor, Media Editor, News Editor VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwire - June 19, 2009) - With a dramatic, hard hitting public service announcement: The Heat Is On, The Humane Society of Canada launches its nationwide campaign asking people to leave their pets at home during hot weather. Different versions of the multimedia PSA can be found at Tragically, last month, two men in Saint John, New Brunswick allowed their dog to die from heat prostration in a locked car while they took a cross border jaunt.

However, south of the border, in happier news, a lucky dog named "Mr Snuggles" of Tampa Florida, will be getting a new home after his previous owners left him locked in a scorching hot car while they went furniture shopping and an officer used his baton to rescue "Mr Snuggles", according to Al Hickey, Western Regional Director for The Humane Society of Canada (HSC).

"The Heat Is On" reminds people that this summer often the best place for your pets is a cool shady place like your family home. "Each year many well meaning Canadians take advantage of the summer by bringing their pets with them everywhere they go. We're asking people to stop and think for a moment," says Hickey.

Dogs and cats, and other animals, have a body temperature which is already several degrees higher than our own, and with their coats of fur cannot sweat and cool off as efficiently as we do. "If you think we're exaggerating, try wear wearing even a light sweater on a hot summer's day and then go jogging. Within five minutes, you'll know exactly what we're talking about," says The HSC Chairman & CEO Michael O'Sullivan whose family has a houseful of dogs and cats.

The message which can be found is simple and straight to the point: "You wouldn't lock yourself in a sauna. Don't lock your dog in a car."

Temperatures in a car, even with the windows rolled down can turn the inside of a car into an oven, putting your animal's life at risk.

"We also often see people bicycling, jogging, roller blading and skate boarding with their dogs. Even though the dogs seem happy and eager to please, this kind of exertion is very hard on them, especially in hot weather. Don't confuse the dog's apparent happiness with something that may be harmful," says O'Sullivan. Dogs tied up outside of sidewalk cafes and bars, often have no access to shade or water, and become nervous with the sounds and smells of strangers and traffic passing by.

The animal charity recommends that the best place on a hot day for your animal is inside your family home, where they have access to plenty of fresh water and a cool place to sleep.

The Humane Society of Canada is asking people to take the time to educate others when they see a pet being put in a potentially dangerous situation and, when necessary, contact the appropriate authorities right away. Also ask your local shopping malls to post signs and make regular public announcements asking people not to leave their dogs locked in a hot car. People requiring assistance can also contact The Humane Society of Canada, toll-free, at 1-800-641-KIND (5463).

In order to help people prevent animals from suffering from the heat and to help those pets who are suffering, the Humane Society of Canada offers the following advice.

Signs that an animal may be suffering from the heat include: heavy panting, difficulty breathing, vomiting, collapse, increased pulse rate, anxious or staring expression, salivating, weakness, lack of coordination and convulsions. If the animal's temperature continues to climb the animal will go into a coma and die.

Animals suffering from the heat can be cooled down and helped by doing the following:

1. Remove the animal from the hot surroundings.
2. Apply cool water to the animal's skin by spraying him/her or immersing the animal up to their head in water.
3. Allow the animal to rest in a cool place with small amounts of cold water to drink.
4. Seek immediate veterinary attention.

You can significantly reduce the chances of your animal companion suffering from the heat by doing the following:

1. Don't leave pets in a parked vehicle during warm or sunny weather for any reason - leave them at home.
2. Don't leave pets unsupervised outside on warm days for any reason - leave them indoors as much as possible.
3. Ensure that pets always have access to plenty of clean, fresh water in a non-spillable water bowl.
4. Pets should always be kept in safe areas where they have adequate ventilation and good protection from the sun.
5. Don't allow your pets to overexert themselves. On hot days try walking them in the early morning and/or in the evening when it is cooler.

CONTACT: Al Hickey or Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has 6 grandchildren.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 100 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada works to protect dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and small animals, horses, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, fund non-invasive scientific research, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

A registered charity we rely on donations to support our programs. Donations can be made at and are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. We promise to use every one of your hard earned dollars carefully and wisely. And when it comes to fighting cruelty, we don't give up. Ever.

/For further information: IN: MEDIA, SOCIAL

Contact Information

  • Michael O'Sullivan, Executive Director, The Humane Society of Canada
    Primary Phone: 416-368-0405
    Secondary Phone: 416-876-9685
    Toll-Free: 800-641-5463