How to keep your pets safe during hot summer months

Click to play video 'How to keep your animals safe in vehicles during the summer' How to keep your animals safe in vehicles during the summer
WATCH ABOVE: As the temperature continues to rise, the Lethbridge Police Service and Lethbridge Animal Services are reminding residents that a hot summer day, a vehicle, and animals do not mix. Erik Mikkelsen has some tips for keeping your pet safe, and cool this summer – May 26, 2016

When it comes to keeping pets safe in the warm summer months, Officer Skylar Plourde with Lethbridge Animal Services said it’s a lot harder than you might think.

“Unfortunately in the end, common sense isn’t as common as we’d hoped it would be,” Plourde said.

The Lethbridge Police Service and Lethbridge Animal Services are once again reminding residents about pet safety in vehicles.

“If you step outside and you feel that it’s a little bit hot and uncomfortable, the dog is going to sweat twice as much,” Plourde said. “Leave them at home. If you have air conditioning in your house, that’s perfect, even just in the backyard where they have access to shade, that’s even better.”

In the past 18 months, Plourde said Animal Services has received about 50 calls for animals being left in hot vehicles, some with temperatures inside reaching 35 degrees Celsius or higher.

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Under the bylaw, Plourde said the vehicle must have adequate ventilation – whether it’s air conditioning or leaving windows open – and always having water available for the animal.

He said if you are ever worried about the well-being of an animal, make the call to the experts instead of taking matters into your own hands.

“You could be set up with civil suits if the owner of the vehicle or dog decides to press charges or sue,” Plourde said.

While it may seem like common sense not to have your dog on your lap while you’re driving, Const. Steve Baker with LPS wants to remind drivers that it is distracted driving, and you can and will be ticketed. He said the best place for your dog is either in their own seat buckled up or in the back seat, on the ground.

“They need to be strapped in,” Baker said. “Because when that car stops moving they’re going to keep going.”

Baker said pets in the back of pick-up trucks must be tethered on a leash or in a strapped-down kennel.

The bottom line officers stress is: if you have any doubts about your pet’s safety during the summer, leave them at home.