It Only Takes Six Minutes for a Dog to Die in a Hot Car

2e1ax vintage entry ddihc





Even on mild days, temperatures in a car can rapidly heat up to reach more than double the outside temperature. When it’s 22 degrees Celsius outside, the inside of a car can reach a stifling 47 degrees Celsius. This is no environment for a dog.

Every summer, RSPCA NSW receives hundreds of calls from concerned people who have found animals left in hot cars. It is still a common belief that is fine to leave a dog in a car if they’ve parked in the shade, or if the windows are tinted/rolled down. No matter the weather or location, it is still a very dangerous situation for any dog.

Symptoms of heat stress in dogs include panting, drooling and restlessness. Over time, they can become weak and their gum colour can change. They may also begin to stagger and experience vomiting, diarrhoea or seizures.

Because dogs cool themselves through panting, they are particularly at risk in a hot car. If the air around them is too hot and there is no access to cool water, dogs cannot lower their body temperature back to where it should be.

What should you do if you find a dog left in a hot car?

1. Call for help

If the owner of the car and dog cannot be located straight away, contact your local police or RSPCA NSW on 1300 278 3589 as soon as possible and request assistance.

sefe2. Notify management

If the car is parked in a business’ car park, notify the business management or security team. Ask them to make a public announcement to find the car’s and dog’s owner. People may not realize how quickly a car can heat up or understand the risk of leaving a pet inside a car. Many people will often return very quickly to their vehicle when alerted to the situation.

If the car is in a public carpark and you cannot find anyone to assist you, please remember to contact your local police or RSPCA NSW on 1300 278 3589.

3. Record information

You should quickly note down the car’s make, model and license plate number or if you have your phone nearby, take a picture of it. Do NOT report this to us via social media. You will need to contact us officially so we can take action.

4. Monitor the dog

If you are able to, stay with the dog until help arrives.

What are the laws surrounding dogs left in hot cars?

Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1979), it is not an offence to lock a dog in the car in NSW. However, if the dog is heat distressed, this is considered an act of cruelty, and our inspectors can investigate. If this is the case, please report it to us on 1300 278 3589 and provide the licence plate number, make and colour of car, the location and a description of the person of interest if available. Our Inspectors will then be able to investigate further.

You can read the full Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1979) here.

What can I do to help?

You can pledge to never leave your dog in a hot car by visting our website here and help to raise awarness about this important issue.