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Leaving your dog in a hot car can be fatal, SPCA warns ahead of Cape’s scorching weekend

File Picture: African News Agency/ANA

File Picture: African News Agency/ANA

Published Jan 21, 2022

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Cape Town – The Cape of Good Hope SPCA has warned pet owners of a number of precautionary measures to ensure your fluffy friends remain in good health, as the Cape is expecting scorching temperatures this weekend.

Extremely hot and uncomfortable weather conditions are reported in the Western Cape, starting Friday.

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“The hottest day will be Saturday for most areas. The temperatures should range between 35°C to 40°C in most places, and greater than 40°C over in most parts of the Western Cape interior,” Stella Nake, South African Weather Services (SAWS) Cape Town spokesperson told the Cape Argus.

As a result, the Cape of Good Hope SPCA has warned pet owners that leaving your beloved animals in a hot car – whether the car is parked in a shaded area with the windows rolled down or not – can be fatal.

The animal welfare organisation calls on the public to report animals in hot cars to 021 700 4158/9 or 083 326 1604 after hours.

Exercising pets in the heat of the day is discouraged. Besides the temperature concerns, hot surfaces like pavements and sand on beaches are damaging to pets’ sensitive paw pads.

“The rule is simple, if a surface is too hot for your barefoot, it’s too hot for your pets,” the SPCA says.

White-faced dogs are advised to be kept indoors, and pet-friendly sunscreen should be applied to pink noses, ear tips and hairless areas.

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“Keep a close eye on short-nosed dog breeds that do not pant effectively and are more susceptible to heatstroke,” the animal welfare organisation goes on to say.

Signs of animal heatstroke (that requires immediate veterinary treatment):

  • Dark red gums
  • Excessive or exaggerated panting
  • Weakness
  • Drooling
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Unresponsiveness to surroundings
  • Vomiting

Although this weekend’s high temperatures does not equate to a heatwave, since SAWS defines a heatwave as the maximum temperature being 5°C higher than the mean maximum of the hottest month over a three day period.

The City of Cape Town advises residents to keep cool by lowering body temperature, ensuring indoor areas are kept ventilated and staying hydrated.

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