11 January 2024

RSPCA WA is urging people to leave their dogs at home after having received more than one report a day of dogs in hot cars since the beginning of November.

As Perth heats up this week, the RSPCA is reminding dog owners the temperature in a parked car can quickly climb to double the outside temperature and kill a dog in just six minutes.

This week is forecast to be a hot one with a string of over 30°C days forecast, meaning the dangerous effects of heatstroke are made even worse for any dog left in a car.

Window tinting, parking in the shade or leaving the windows down a bit provides little or no relief.

Because dogs cool down by panting (breathing in air that is cooler than their body temperature) they can't regulate their temperature if they are left in a hot car.

Even when the temperature outside is a mild 22°C, the temperature inside a parked car can rise to over 47°C in a matter of minutes. Dogs in these conditions can suffer an agonising death.

RSPCA WA Inspector Manager Kylie Green said there had only been 13 days over 35°C in Perth since 1 November.

“And yet we’ve been receiving, on average, more than a call a day about a dog left in a hot car,” she said. 

“I’m concerned with this week’s temperatures, those numbers will soar, and dogs will suffer, perhaps even die.

“Our message is simple – if you love your dog, leave them at home. A quick visit to the shops could cost your dog their life. Don't put your dog's life at risk.”

If you see a dog in a hot car:

  1. Identify signs of heatstroke.
  2. Note down the vehicle's registration number and location and report it immediately to the RSPCA Cruelty Hotline on 1300 278 358 (1300 CRUELTY) or call WA Police on 131 444.
  3. If you're at a shopping centre, ask the centre management to page the owner of the vehicle.
  4. Keep an eye on the dog until help arrives but maintain a suitable distance to ensure you don't agitate them, which could cause further distress, making the dog even hotter.
  5. Gather as much evidence as possible (vehicle details, time and date, photos of the dog in the vehicle).

RSPCA WA is reminding people that leaving a dog in a hot car could constitute a charge of animal cruelty which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

The RSPCA relies on the community to report incidents of suspected cruelty and neglect. Report cruelty 24/7 on 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 358) or online here.