Heat-related calls for dogs rise in Edmonton as record shattering heat wave continues
As the heat wave continues to envelop Alberta, a local veterinarian clinic says heat-related calls are rising as it warns pet owners to take precautions if they’re going to be outside with their beloved pets.
Dr. John Williamson, partner at Pulse Veterinary Specialists in Sherwood Park, said his clinic is getting multiple heat-related calls per day.
Normally the clinic sees many calls to help animals that have been left in vehicles, but Williamson said more and more cases are animals who are simply spending time outside.
“We’re just getting heat strokes and heat exhaustions from dogs just being outside,” he shared. “Which is a little bit atypical for Edmonton.
“We’ve lost some over the weekend and other remain in hospital in critical condition,” the vet added. “So it is an absolute thing right now and people need to be aware of it.”
Williamson said typical signs of heat stroke in dogs includes excessive panting and tiredness, gums turning from pink to red, and seizures in severe cases.
“Any dog can get heat exhaustion, but some breeds are going to be more predisposed than others.”
Owners who have thick-coated dogs or dogs with small or pushed-in noses have to be particularly careful, Williamson says.
“You just don’t want them going to areas that are hot,” he added.
The veterinarian recommended taking your dog for a walk early in the morning or later in the evening after the peak heat, bringing water for them to drink, and never pushing them too hard if they don’t want to be out in the sun.
“It’s not rocket science. It’s the same as we do for ourselves, right?”
“Right now during the mid-day they really, other than to go outside to pee and poop, shouldn’t be doing a whole lot of anything,” he added.
Over the past week, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) said they received nearly as many calls for a person or animal locked in a vehicle as it did for the first three weeks of June.
According to EFRS spokesperson Brittany Lewchuk, last week rescue crews responded to 30 incidents of people or animals locked in a vehicle.
Eighteen of those were for animals, 12 were for people.
Lewchuk told CTV News Edmonton EFRS responded to 40 such events from June 1 to June 19.
Williamson said dogs should never be left in a vehicle in any heat – let alone during a historic heat wave.
“Just a minute or two can be too much for many dogs,” he said.
As temperatures are expected to continue to climb throughout the rest of this week, Lewchuk recommends calling 911 immediately if you encounter an animal exhibiting signs of distress while locked in a vehicle, like excessive panting or drooling or non-responsiveness.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Carlyle Fiset