A Gabriola Island-based company has come up with an app to help people respond to dogs in hot cars. File photo

There’s an app for that

App helps bystanders respond to dogs in hot cars

A B.C. developer is looking to help with the problem of dogs locked in cars during hot weather.

The Dog in Hot Car Responder app, developed by Dogsafe Canine First Aid, gives step-by-step guidance, starting from assessing the dog to calling the police to entering a vehicle with force, and ending with assembling data into an email that can be sent to themselves, animal control, police or veterinarians.

“Adrenaline and emotions are high when responding to a canine first aid situation, especially dogs in hot cars,” said Michelle Sevigny, creator of the mobile app.

Sevigny, a former Vancouver police officer and professional dog trainer, has responded to dogs in hot cars both as a constable and as a civilian.

“Parking lot situations can be intense,” said Sevigny, “so our Dog in a Hot Car Responder app provides detailed guidance so responders can get calm and make the best choices to help the dog, and document these choices which may help police and animal welfare officers in a criminal investigation and veterinarians in their follow-up care.”

And what if you decide to smash a window?

“We’re not telling people to break a window or not break a window, that needs to be an individual decision based on the dog’s level of distress and local laws,” said Sevigny. “But if people decide to use force, we absolutely recommend documenting their actions because they’ll have to explain to somebody, such as the vehicle’s owner, the police, or a judge, and our app helps them do this effectively.”

The app also has low risk and high-risk signs of heatstroke listed so you can easily record what you see and when, critical information that may help veterinarians during follow-up care.

The app does not replace canine first aid training, veterinary care or assistance from animal control, animal welfare or police. It is free for Android devices through the Google Play Store. More information is available at dogsafe.ca.