How Animals Are Staying Cool During Calgary’s Heat Wave

How Animals Are Staying Cool During Calgary’s Heat Wave

As the sun continues to shine on Calgary, the polar bears at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo are happily splashing around.

Staff have been busy ensuring all animals on site can enjoy water features, cold treats and cooling stations during the ongoing heat wave.

“In Calgary, the temperatures are similar to what polar bears would experience in the wild,” said Patrick Thompson, the zoo’s animal care manager.

The polar bears, Baffin and Siku, are just as comfortable in temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius as they are in temperatures down to -40 degrees Celsius, he said.

“When we think of polar bears, we think of them living on the ice and being cold, but they also have to live and survive in the spring, summer and fall, right?” he added.

Humboldt penguins sunbathe on the rocks and are fed frozen ‘fish’, while other animals are kept in temperature-controlled indoor areas.

“The Animal Care team will be monitoring them closely for signs of heat stress,” Thompson said.

Penguins at the Calgary Zoo on Tuesday, July 9, 2024.Outside of the zoo, many Calgarians choose to walk and swim along the river with their pets.

“We usually just come here to cool off,” said Tessa Mills, who headed to the water with her dog Toast on Tuesday morning.

“We let him swim, tire him out, because then he can sit in it.”

Toast the dog takes a dip in Calgary to cool off on Tuesday, July 9, 2024.According to a local veterinarian, these measures are recommended when Calgary experiences a heat wave.

The staff at Westmount Animal Clinic typically sees more visits from pets and their owners when temperatures in the city are extremely high, such as during the current warm weather.

“Pets can’t regulate their heat as well by sweating as we can, so they have to pant. There really is a limit to what they can tolerate,” said Dr. Chanpreet Bath of the clinic.

People should provide their pets with plenty of shade and water and not leave them unattended in vehicles, Bath said.

“The temperature is really, really high. It’s almost like it’s an oven in a car, right?” he said.

“That can also make them more susceptible to something like heat stroke or hyperthermia,” Bath added.