Dogs in hot cars

In warm weather, cars and other vehicles heat up very fast. Pets can get very sick if left in a hot, parked vehicle.

What happens to your dog in a hot car?
Dogs cannot release heat by sweating like we do. Their body temperature rises much quicker than ours.

Hot weather is worse for some dogs, such as older dogs and dogs with flatter faces.

In just 10 minutes, a dog in a hot car can suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke.

Always leave your dog at home, where there is more space, water and shade.

Signs of heatstroke include:

  • panting hard (or the sudden stopping of panting)rapid or irregular pulse
  • staring blankly
  • weakness and shaking
  • vomiting

What to do if your pet is showing signs of heatstroke:

  • Move your pet to a cool, shady place.
  • Wet your pet wi
  • th cool water, but do not use ice.
  • Fan your pet to help lower their body temperature.
  • Give your pet some cool water or ice cream.
  • Take your pet to a vet as soon as possible.

What should you to do if you see a dog in a hot car?

  • Write down the license plate and a description of the car. Ask nearby shops to page the owner to get back to their car right away.
  • If the dog is showing signs of heatstroke or other health problems, call the BC SPCA hotline at 1-855-622-7722.
  • Do not break the window. Only RCMP, local police and the BC SPCA can do this lawfully.

* BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Adapted from BC SPCA and The Vancouver Sun, submitted by Patti-Lea Ryan, edited by Nila Gopaul in 2015. Updated by Jade Chan in 2023 • Photo: BC SPCA