Summer hazard – dogs in hot cars

A dog in a hot car Photo: Courtesy of the BC SPCA

A dog in a hot car
Photo: Courtesy of the BC SPCA

Summer hazard: dogs in hot cars
Adapted from The Vancouver Sun and the BC SPCA by Patti-Lea Ryan
Edited by Nila Gopaul
Level 3

The BC SPCA* reminds us that summer is here.
This means that the weather is getting hot.
Vehicles such as cars and vans heat up
very fast in the summer.
Your pet can get very sick
in a hot, parked vehicle.
* BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Last year in June, the BC SPCA
responded to 228 calls
to rescue dogs in hot cars.

Every year, hundreds of pets die
from heatstroke
because they are left in parked vehicles.

In just 10 minutes,
dogs can get brain damage
or die from heatstroke.
Never leave your pet in the car,
even with windows rolled down, in the shade.

Hot Dogs

“In just minutes, the temperature in a parked car
can climb to well over 38° Celsius …”
says BC SPCA general manager of community relations Lorie Chortyk.
Dogs have no sweat glands.
They “cool themselves by panting and
by releasing heat through their paws,” says Chortyk.

So if you are going shopping
or you are planning to go out for lunch or coffee,
it is better to leave your dog at home.

Some signs of heatstroke in dogs:

  • Panting hard (or the sudden stopping of panting)
  • Staring blankly
  • Weakness and shaking
  • Vomiting

What to do if you see a dog in a car on a warm day:
If you think a dog is having problems,
call the BC SPCA hotline (1-855-622-7722).
If there is no answer, call the local police.

In hot weather:

  • Bring a towel to give your pet to lay on (outside in shade).
  • Freeze ice cubes and treats to help keep your pet cool.
    You can also freeze chicken stock mixed with water
    to make it tastier for them.
  • Set out a kiddie pool with cool water for your pet to help cool off.
  • Remember to bring water for your pet
    and a water bowl so it stays hydrated.

Did you know that dogs
also get sick if over-exercised
outside on hot days?

To help your pet, you can:

  1. Walk your dog in early morning or evening.
  2. Take water and stop for breaks.


  1. Dogs in hot cars (from the BC SPCA