Skip to main content

City urges pet owners to leave furry friends at home after 3 reports of them Tuesday in hot vehicles


With reports of pets and children being left in vehicles across Edmonton during the heatwave, the city is reminding people not to do that because of the extreme danger to life.

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) told CTV News Edmonton crews responded Tuesday to calls of three pets and one child being left unattended in vehicles, all in separate incidents.

"Temperatures in vehicles can spike very quickly," John Wilson, director of animal care and park rangers section for the City of Edmonton, told CTV News Edmonton on Wednesday.

"That is incredibly dangerous for animals that don't have the ability to regulate their body temperature in the way that we do as people." 

Wilson said one of Tuesday's calls came from security at West Edmonton Mall, who reported that a dog had been left in a car for more than an hour.

Animal control officers had to break the window of the vehicle to rescue the dog and give it medical treatment, Wilson said, adding Edmonton police arrested the pet's owner as a result.

Since July 1, EFRS said on Wednesday it has received 24 calls for pets locked in vehicles and five others involving children or adults. 

People who leave an animal in a hot vehicle and causing it to be in distress can face fines or charges under the Animal Protection Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.

All pets, especially dogs, are vulnerable when temperatures reach extensive levels such as Edmonton is experiencing now.

The city outlined the dangers of heat to pets and ways to keep them cool in a heatwave in a media release on Wednesday:

  • Dogs left in vehicles, even with the windows down, are at great risk of heatstroke and sunburn. They cannot cool themselves as efficiently as human beings because they sweat differently.
  • It's best to leave pets at home during hot weather unless you're heading to a pet-friendly location and returning home shortly after.
  • On seemingly cool days, the temperature inside a vehicle can rise dramatically in minutes. For example, on a 15 C day, the temperature can rise to 28 C within 15 minutes.

Credit: Stephen Dyer/CTV News Edmonton

Signs of animal heat distress

  • Excessive panting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Weakness, tremors, convulsions
  • Vomiting
  • Reddening and flushing of the skin on the inside of the ears
  • Dry mouth
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Trouble walking

How to help a pet left in a hot vehicle

  • Take down the car’s make, model, licence plate number and exact location.
  • If the dog is in distress, call 9-1-1.
  • If the owner can’t be found nearby, call 3-1-1 and wait by the car for animal control officers to arrive. 

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Amanda Anderson