Six minutes' heat can kill - SPCA

HAMISH CARDWELL
Last updated 11:30 06/02/2013
Khristina Costello
Derek Flynn

Hot dog: Marlborough SPCA animal welfare inspector Khristina Costello wants people to know leaving their dogs in the car during the summer months could seriously hurt their pets. She is holding an American staffie-cross named Lizzie, who is available for adoption

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A spate of callouts to treat dogs suffering heatstroke in Blenheim has prompted the SPCA to remind dog owners that leaving their pet in the car during the summer months could be fatal.

Marlborough SPCA animal inspector Khristina Costello said last week there had been three cases of dogs which required medical treatment after being left in a parked car.

She said the 30 degree Celsius temperatures last week could have pushed the temperature inside a parked car to 40C in 10 minutes, even with the window open a crack. It could get as high as 49C in 30 minutes.

"A dog's normal body temperature is 39C, and it can stand a body temperature of 42C, but only for a short time before irreversible brain damage and even death."

Dogs pant to cool themselves but this method was ineffective if the surrounding air temperature was very hot. She understood people liked taking their dogs with them in their car, but if owners got waylaid or stuck in a queue it could be very dangerous.

"If a dog is overcome by heat, immerse it in cold water until the body temperature lowers. It is so important to get the the body temperature down as soon as you can. In six minutes of extreme heat you can go from a healthy dog to one that is in serious trouble."

Ms Costello recommends leaving the dog at home on very hot days.

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- The Marlborough Express

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