With the hot weather looking like it’s here to stay – the Ontario SPCA’s Muskoka Animal Centre is reminding residents about the importance of keeping your pets cool.

In an interview with MyMuskokaNow, Animal Centre Manager Jane McCamus says one of the biggest mistakes people make is leaving their pet unattended in a vehicle during the summer months.

She points out that dogs, for example, have limited ability to sweat and being in a hot environment for even a short time – can be life-threatening.

McCamus notes that this is an issue that needs to be talked about on a regular basis.

“Leaving your pet in the car is one of the most unsafe things you can do. It only takes a few minutes for the car to reach temperatures that animals can’t handle. That can result in brain damage and death, so it is very serious.”

There are a number of considerations to take into account when it comes to the heat and how it impacts your pets.

McCamus says this includes your pets breed, age and a number of other factors.

“What your activity level is, what the temperatures are going to be, is your dog a senior dog, does it have health issues, is it a puppy – so, all of those compounding factors can really increase the risk of heatstroke.”

If your pet suffers heatstroke, McCamus encourages you to wet the animals’ fur immediately with lukewarm to cool water – but not cold water and bring them to a shaded area and offer drinking water.

The next step would be to prompt medical care for your animal.

“There are things we can do to minimize these incidents and eliminate leaving animals in cars in particular. The other thing is to take your dogs for walks earlier in the morning or evening when the temperature is lower and reduce the amount of playtime for your animal during the hotter times of the day.”

McCamus says if you spot an unattended pet in a vehicle that appears to be suffering from heat exhaustion, do not hesitate to call local police or another first responder agency.

For more information on how to keep your animals cool in the heat – head here