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Weather jumps into the hot zone

With scorching temperatures on the horizon, city and health officials warn people to keep themselves and their pets cool.

If you have a dog, leave it at home in a cool spot during the coming heat wave, Surrey’s animal control officials are advising.

Weather Canada and Fraser Health have not issued warnings yet, but it’s believed one might be sent out today (Friday), as scorching weather is expected by the weekend – pushing temperatures well above 30 degrees Celsius in Surrey and the Fraser Valley.

Even the best-intentioned owners can put their pets in danger when the mercury rises, said Kim Marosevich, the City of Surrey’s bylaw business operations manager.

“Just don’t travel with your pets,” Marosevich said, adding even if the air seems cooler, the ground can be a huge problem. “(Dogs) can burn the pads of their feet; they can dehydrate.”

Even if there’s plenty of water, that, too, can present potential problems.

“If dogs ingest too much water, they can actually deplete the sodium in their blood, and suffer from something called water toxicity.”

Mostly seen in dogs that like to play in lakes and other bodies of water, or in those that over-hydrate when hot, water toxicity can cause seizures, coma and death.

And Marosevich said people still aren’t getting the message about the perils of leaving dogs in vehicles.

Surrey’s bylaw department has been answering a number of “hot dog in car” calls, including one about an out-of-towner who brought her dog to the Bell Performing Arts Centre last week.

She explained to the officer that she was running out to the parking lot every few minutes to make sure her pet’s water bowl was full.

The officer told her that wasn’t good enough and that she would have to remain with the animal, so the woman missed the show.

Temperatures can rise to 52 C within 20 minutes in an enclosed vehicle when the outside temperature is 34 C. Leaving the car windows slightly open or “cracked” will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature.

As for the masters of the house, extreme temperatures can cause heat-related illnesses as well, said Fraser Health. Symptoms to watch for include thirst, dizziness, confusion, weakness, fainting and collapsing. Heat-related illnesses can also lead to death, the health authority added.

People considered most at risk are seniors and infants, and those with heart, lung and kidney conditions. People living alone and unable to leave the house are considered more at risk, and Fraser Health reminds everyone to check on elderly friends and family members regularly.

Some tips to stay cool include staying hydrated by drinking water before thirst sets in, and spending several hours a day in air-conditioned facilities such as shopping centres, libraries, or community centres. Fraser Health suggests using public pools, water parks and beaches, or taking a cool shower.

Also, spend the hottest hours (between 11 a.m. and 2 pm.) out of the sun and in a cool location.

The hot weather is expected to continue into next week.

Check Environment Canada for further updates: http://weather.gc.ca/canada_e.html


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