Hot Cars

An  important message from the SPCA


On a warm day, the inside of your car heats up very quickly. A dark-coloured car, parked in full sun on a day with an ambient temperature of 22°C can reach an internal temperature of 40°C after 10 minutes.

Opening the windows slightly has very little effect.

A normal dog’s body temperature is around 38.5°C.

Dogs only sweat a small amount through their paws and rely on panting to cool down. In a hot car, even with the windows slightly open, panting is not enough to keep a dog’s body temperature within a safe range.

A dog can withstand a body temperature of 41°C for a short amount of time but will quickly suffer irreparable brain damage and even death.

Heat stroke is a serious condition for dogs with mortality rates between 39-50%. Young, overweight or elderly animals, or those with short muzzles or thick, dark-coloured coats are most at risk of overheating.

Please don't leave your dog unattended in a car at any time of the day. If the purpose of your trip is not to take your dog somewhere, please leave your dog at home.

You face a $300 fine for leaving your dog in a hot car.If you find a dog locked in a car in distress, please call the Police or your local SPCA immediately.

Do not smash the window as this puts both you and the dog at risk.

The Canine Good Citizen programme / Dogs NZ suggests the following to reduce the risk of your dog overheating in a parked vehicle.

  • Park in the shade
  • Ensure windows are lowered
  • Secure the dog in a crate with good airflow
  • Provide water
  • Check on the dog often
  • Secure the dog safely to the outside of the vehicle and finally TAKE THEM WITH YOU