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It's not cool to leave pets in hot cars

Every summer the RSPCA is inundated with calls from concerned citizens alerting us to animals that have been left or locked in hot cars. The RSPCA cannot stress enough that it takes just six minutes or less for an animal to suffer severe heat exhaustion in a car and die.

If you find a pet left in a hot car, please call the Victorian Police on 000. The Police are equipped to dispatch officers quickly from the nearest police station which is critical under these circumstances.

Tests conducted by Melbourne’s Metropolitan Ambulance Service on a 29 degree day with the car’s air conditioning having cooled the interior to a comfortable 20 degrees showed it took just 10 minutes for the temperature to more than double to 44 degrees. In a further 10 minutes it had tripled to a deadly 60.2 degrees. As with humans, exposure to these types of temperatures can be extremely dangerous.

Dogs are particularly at risk as they cool themselves by panting. If the air around them is too hot - particularly if they don’t have access to water - dogs are physically unable to regulate their body temperature. In the time it takes to pick up a few things for dinner at the supermarket and get through the check-out, a dog left in a hot car could have already died an agonising death.

RSPCA Victoria also urges pet owners to not leave an animal on the back of a utility without adequate shade, shelter and water. Again, animals left in these conditions can quickly suffer from severe dehydration and heat exhaustion. If you know that you will most likely be away from your pet, even for a couple of minutes, while you are out, it is much better to leave an animal at home where they are comfortable and have access to water than leave it alone in a car. Even if parked in the shade, the temperature inside a car on a summer’s day can reach hazardous levels.

To learn more about caring for your animals during the heat, visit our RSPCA Summer Care page.

You can also visit your local RSPCA shelter to pick up a free ‘Dogs die in hot cars’ poster for you to display in your local community

Prepare pets for summer
View more information on helping
 your pet cope with the heat.

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