Did you know a dog left in a car can die within as little as 6 minutes?

poochWhether you’re a dog, cat or turtle person (or all three), the safety of your pet is paramount. The National Roads and Motorists’ Association is urging pet owners to remember that pets feel the same blistering heat and thirst-aggravating hot days just like you do.

To ensure your pets are safe during the extreme hot weather here are some tips on how to keep your pet cool this summer.

 Pet safety during summer:
As the mercury level rises, so too does your pet’s need for water and cool shade. The RSPCA NSW offers the following tips to keep your pets cool this summer:

  • Extra bowls of water (in case one is accidentally tipped over).
  • Takeaway containers filled with beef/chicken stock, frozen overnight and given to outdoor animals.
  • Ice cubes in water bowls. Be careful, some animals will avoid drinking the water if they are concerned about the floating ice cubes. An good alternative is to freeze half a water bowl the night before and top the remainder up with cool water when putting out.
  • Colleen from our Facebook community had this great advice:colleen-advice-2

  • Extra shade areas in your backyard using shade cloths and shade umbrellas.
  • Paddling pools (clams are especially popular) filled with water and under your supervision.
  • NEVER leave dogs in cars, even with the windows down – dogs can’t sweat and heat stress and death can occur within 6 minutes.
  • Always walk your dog in the early morning or late evening to avoid the heat of the day.
  • Ensure pets have easy access to shade and water throughout the day.
  • Spray pet birds with a mist pump spray bottle (only if they like it!) or install a bird bath for supervised use.
  • Cool a ceramic tile or oven pan in the fridge/freezer and put out for small dogs and cats to lie on.
  • For pocket pets, little bags of ice wrapped in small, wet towels provides heat reflief.
  • Allow your outdoor animals to come inside the house and share the air conditioning or electric fan.

The NRMA has this safety advice when travelling with pets:

  • Don’t leave your pet in the car for any length in time
  • Provide your pet with plenty of water at rest stops
  • Always look before you leave the car to ensure no-one’s been left behind
  • Plan ahead when you need to buy petrol so you don’t need to leave the car

Here are some important facts regarding dogs in hot cars from the RSPCA:

  • A dog left in a car can die within as little as 6 minutes as they are not able to sweat to cool themselves.
  • A dog panting inside a car will raise the temperature even more quickly.
  • Leaving the window down or parking in the shade does little to stop the temperature rising in the car.
  • All animals are affected by heat stress.

Pet safety and the law:
People found leaving their pets in cars could face criminal penalties under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1977. If a dog dies as a result of being left in a car, the owner could face a $22,000 fine and a two-year prison sentence.

What safety tips do you have to keep pets safe in summer? Share them below or on our Facebook and Twitter communities. 

The RSPCA is a charity partner of the NRMA Motoring & Services

Useful links:
What should you do if you see a child locked in a hot car?
Choosing a child-friendly car
Opinion: Top 10 road rage-causing drivers



7 thoughts on “Did you know a dog left in a car can die within as little as 6 minutes?

  1. I have an elderly dog who suffers badly in the head. When I get home from work I bring him into the air conditioning and put a cold wet towel on him until he stopped panting.

  2. It’s great news to read about how offenders of pet abuse are being prosecuted. To the previous comment, be careful not to cool your dogs down too quickly via powerful airconditioning. Years ago a colleague went running on a hot morning with her two golden retrievers and to cool them she left them in the airconditioned apartment. One dog became so ill she had to be put down. I think it’s important to be sensible about such things as a dog’s environment. Let’s hope these warnings and comments reach those fools who own dogs who really shouldn’t.

  3. With guinea pigs, heat can be lethal, so choose a cool spot in the heat and a wet tea towel draped on part of the cage can be helpful. If leaving a small bag of ice leave it so they can choose to go to it, they will if they need too.

  4. We top up our dogs water bowls with water from the fridge and also put an ice brick in it (the ones used for the esky, etc). This keeps the water cooler for longer and the dogs love it.
    We also have a ‘box fan’ on the floor so the breeze is at their height.
    Our dogs don’t like pools of water so we hose them down often on extra hot days

  5. Pingback: Ever accidentally locked your pet in the car? | The NRMA Blog

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