TORONTO, July 3, 2002 - The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) is asking that people get involved to ensure that pets don’t suffer during the warm weather. This can lead to severe sickness or even death. Police are investigating and have not yet decided whether to lay criminal charges against an Ottawa man whose dog died yesterday reportedly from heat stroke. The man went for a ride on his bicycle with his dog forced to run alongside him because he tied his dog’s leash to the bike frame.


"People who live with animal companions need to take extra precautions to ensure their pets’ comfort and safety during warm weather," advises Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director. "Some simple steps that can be taken during warm weather include taking pets for a walk in the early morning and in the evening when it is cooler and ensuring that pets always have adequate protection from the sun and plenty of fresh water."


According to Hickey, another all too common dangerous situation occurs when pets are left in vehicles. "Even a vehicle parked in the shade, on a mild day with the windows rolled down quickly becomes an oven," warns Hickey. "Leave pets at home where it is cool when it is warm outside."

"Those who don’t have pets should also look out for those animals who may be put in a situation where they could suffer from the heat," says HSC Executive Director Michael O’Sullivan. "Recently people got involved when they saw a man cycling with his leashed dog who was struggling to keep up in extreme heat. Unfortunately the dog died, but it was reassuring to know that the police were informed of the dog’s situation and other people attempted to save the dog."

The Humane Society of Canada is asking people to take the time to educate others when they see a pet being put in a potentially dangerous situation and, when necessary, contact the appropriate authorities. People requiring assistance can also contact the Humane Society of Canada, toll-free, at 1-800-641-KIND (5463).

In order to help people prevent animals from suffering from the heat and to help those pets who are suffering, the Humane Society of Canada offers the following advice.

Signs that an animal may be suffering from the heat include: heavy panting, difficulty breathing, vomiting, collapse, increased pulse rate, anxious or staring expression, salivating, weakness, lack of coordination and convulsions. If the animal’s temperature continues to climb the animal will go into a coma and die.


Animals suffering from the heat can be cooled down and helped by doing the following:

  1. Remove the animal from the hot surroundings.
  2. Apply cool water to the animal’s skin by spraying him/her or immersing the animal up to his/her head in water.
  3. Allow the animal to rest in a cool place with small amounts of cold water to drink.
  4. Seek immediate veterinary attention.


You can significantly reduce the chances of your animal companion suffering from the heat by doing the following:

  • Don’t leave pets in a parked vehicle during warm weather - leave them at home.
  • Don’t leave pets unsupervised outside on warm days - leave them indoors as much as possible.
  • Ensure that pets always have access to plenty of clean, fresh water in a non-spilling water bowl.
  • Pets should be kept in safe areas where they have adequate ventilation and good protection from the sun.
  • Don’t allow your pets to overexert themselves. On hot days try walking them in the early morning and/or in the evening when it is cooler.


CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at via twitter at and on Facebook at:

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

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