Each year the RSPCA receives around 6,000 calls from members of the public concerned about an animal that has been left in a car on the street, in a supermarket car park or at a public event.
Dogs can die from heatstroke in as little as 20 minutes. In warm, sunny weather cars become ovens and even if it’s cloudy, the temperature inside a car can become dangerously hot for a dog. When it is just 22°C (72°F) outside, the temperature inside a car can soar to 47°C (117°F) or even higher. For this reason, the RSPCA advises that animals are never left inside cars.
- If a dog left in a car is panting for breath, it may be starting to suffer from heatstroke. This could kill the dog very quickly.
- Leaving the car windows open or putting a bowl of water inside does not help.
- Temperatures in air conditioned cars can reach the same as the outside air temperature within just five minutes of air conditioning being turned off.
- Owners who put an animal at risk by leaving it locked inside a car can face prosecution.
What should I do if I find a dog alone in a car?
In some situations, it may be easy for you to find the owner of a car. For example, if the car is in a supermarket car park or at a public event, you could ask for a message to be broadcast asking the owner to return to their car immediately.
However, if it isn’t possible to trace the owner, please contact the police on 999 for assistance. If the police are unable to attend, please call our 24-hour cruelty line 0300 1234 999.