With the weather now warming up, the RSPCA is warning people that it can take less than six minutes for an animal to die in a hot vehicle.

Jan Davis, RSPCA CEO, says “Temperatures in a car can rise to dangerous levels and can rapidly reach more than double the outside temperature even on mild days. Tinting, parking in the shade or leaving the windows open do not help to reduce the inside temperature significantly”.

“The RSPCA receives many reports of animals left in vehicles. We’re aware of one dog which died earleir this week.This should never happen.”

Many owners don’t really understand what happens to a dog’s body in overheating and heatstroke.

If a dog’s internal temperature goes above 41°C, it is at risk of heatstroke, which only 50% of dogs survive. Some breeds are more susceptible than others – large dogs, dogs with short faces such as bulldogs and boxers, and overweight or long-coated dogs are most at risk – but every dog has the potential to suffer from heatstroke. It doesn’t have to be boiling hot for this to happen either – when it’s 22°C outside, the inside of a car can easily reach 47°C within an hour.

Even mild heatstroke is an emergency. Treatment of heatstroke is intensive and difficult, and the sooner it is started the better. If you think your pet is affected by heatstroke, you should immediately seek the help of a vet.

Causing animals to suffer in any way is a criminal offence – you can be fined or even spend time in jail.

“Sadly, every year, despite the warnings and despite the help of the media to relay the warnings, some people don’t listen. As a result, animals suffer – and some will die,” Ms Davis said.

“People should never leave their animals unattended in vehicles or even on the back of a ute, even for a short period of time. Better still, pet owners should leave their animals at home during the warmer months, and make sure they have plenty of water and shade.”

“Losing your best mate in such horrendous circumstances would be devastating. So please never, ever, leave your dog in a car.”

If you see a dog in a car on a hot day, you must first call the RSPCA animal cruelty hotline on 1300 139 947. Then phone the police on 131 444.


  • Never leave your pet in a vehicle –even or a few short minutes, even when the windows are down, animals can still overheat and die.
  • Animals can suffer heat stress in all sorts of circumstances – walking too far on hot pavements, being left in yards without shade etc. Avoid exercising your pet during the hottest part of the day. Feel the concrete and bitumen before going for a walk – if it is too hot for your hand, it is too hot for your pet to walk on. Make sure there’s plenty of shade for animals left alone outside; provide lots of water sources; and don’t tether an unsupervised animal.
  • Heat stress is an emergency. Veterinary help should be sought as soon as possible if heat stroke is suspected.
  • Initial emergency treatment should aim to normalise body temperature. Apply or spray tepid/cool water onto the animal’s fur/skin, followed by fanning of the wet fur. Don’t use ice-cold water or ice, as this may exacerbate the problem.

You can see more information here: https://justsixminutes.com.au/

Jan Davis, CEO – RSPCA Tasmania
Mobile: 0409 004 228
Email: jdavis@rspcatas.org.au