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Police and first responders warn of the dangers of leaving children or pets inside unattended vehicles

During the current heatwave, Edmonton firefighters have responded to dozens of urgent calls involving pets and children left unattended in vehicles.

Since July 1, firefighters have been dispatched to 24 incidents where pets were left in vehicles, and an additional 5 calls involving children or adults locked in vehicles, according to city officials.

In July 2023 alone, Edmonton firefighters handled 63 calls related to people locked in vehicles, with 32 incidents involving pets and 31 involving individuals. The previous year, they responded to 84 similar incidents in the same month.

“Leave your pets at home. It’s the safest place for them,” said Dan Kobe, director of communications for the Alberta SPCA.

Tips for keeping your pet cool include providing them with fresh water, keeping them out of the sun and brushing their coats to promote air circulation.

Authorities emphasize the danger of leaving anyone, especially children and pets, in vehicles during hot weather. Temperatures inside a car can escalate dangerously within minutes, potentially leading to heatstroke, which can be fatal.

Yesterday afternoon, police responded to a complaint at West Edmonton Mall parking regarding a dog left unattended in a vehicle. According to EPS (Edmonton Police Service), the outside temperature had reached 36 degrees Celsius at the time of the incident.

After 45 minutes, the driver returned to the vehicle and was subsequently arrested and charged with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

Earlier, on June 29th, there was a report of a toddler left in a vehicle while their mother was grocery shopping.

Under Canadian law, bystanders witnessing a child or pet in distress due to heat inside a vehicle are permitted to break a vehicle’s window to rescue them.

Officials urge the public to remain vigilant and take preventive measures to ensure the safety of loved ones and pets during periods of extreme heat.

The signs of heatstroke

  • Listlessness
  • Excessive panting
  • Restlessness
  • Pet appears distressed

What to do if a dog is suffering from heatstroke

  • Move to a cool or shaded area and direct a fan on him/her
  • Begin to cool the body by placing cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, in the armpits and in the groin area
  • Wet the ear flaps and paws with cool water
  • Transport to a veterinary clinic immediately
  • What not to do
  • Do not force water into your pet, but have it available if they show interest in drinking
  • Do not overcool the animal
  • Do not leave your pet unattended for any length of time

More information can be found at