Dogs have no sweat glands and can withstand high temperatures for only a short time, says the SPCA.

BC SPCA warns: A hot car is no place for your pet

Temperature in parked vehicle can reach over 38 degrees Celsius

  • Jun. 23, 2017 9:30 a.m.

With the arrival of summer and scorching temperatures this weekend, the BC SPCA is reminding people to leave their pets at home rather than in their vehicle.

“We can’t stress enough that it can be fatal to leave your pet in a hot car, even for 10 minutes, but still we receive hundreds of calls about animals in distress, every year,” says Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA.

“Doing so is so dangerous for your pet – the temperature in a parked car, even in the shade with windows partly open, can rapidly reach a level that will seriously harm or even kill a pet.”

Chortyk said the temperature in a parked car can climb to well over 38 degrees Celsius.

Dogs have no sweat glands, so they can only cool themselves by panting and by releasing heat through their paws, she notes.

Dogs can withstand high temperatures for only a very short time – in some cases, just minutes – before suffering irreparable brain damage or death.

“If you’re used to letting your dog accompany you on errands, you might feel guilty leaving him behind on hot days. But your dog will be much happier – and safer – at home, with shade and plenty of fresh cool water,” Chortyk says.

She says it is illegal for members of the public to break a window to access a vehicle; only police and special provincial constables of the SPCA can lawfully enter a vehicle.

If anyone sees an animal they think is in distress, it is suggested they call the BC SPCA animal cruelty hotline at 1-855-622-7722 during business hours (9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends) and staff will connect them with their local animal control or police. In an emergency, call 911.


• Note the licence plate and vehicle information and ask managers of nearby businesses to page the owner to return to their vehicle immediately.

• Call to report the situation if no owner is found or when the animal is suffering heatstroke symptoms.

• Keep emergency supplies – bottled water, a small bowl, a towel that can be soaked in water – in your car so that you help hydrate an animal (if a window has been left open) while you wait for emergency response; a battery-powered fan from a dollar store also can be handy to circulate air.


• Exaggerated panting (or the sudden stopping of panting)

• Rapid or erratic pulse

• Salivation

• Anxious or staring expression

• Weakness and muscle tremors

• Lack of coordination, convulsions

• Vomiting

• Collapse

Visit for more information.

Click here for a hot pet infographic

Click here for a Dogs in Hot Cars poster

Click here for an information brochure


Police smash two windows to save dogs from hot cars

Calls about hot dogs in cars heats up in Langley

Just Posted

B.C.’s north heats up to record highs

Bella Bella, Masset, Prince Rupert and the Cassiar Area all broke records

Special prosecutor appointed in Burns Lake mayor sex assault case

Luke Strimbold has been charged with numerous sex related charges

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C.-pioneered wood construction on a roll internationally

Washington state considers mandatory engineered wood for public buildings

Cops say gun-toting robbers used fake police lights to pull over victims

Information wanted on North Shuswap robbery, police impersonation, burnt vehicle, motorhome theft.

BCHL Today: Surrey Eagles and Powell River Kings close to advancing

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Plane filled with smoke lands at Nanaimo Airport

WestJet flight came in from Vancouver

VSO to perform ‘Star Wars’ music while 1977 movie plays on big screen

Three shows for the classic at iconic Orpheum Theatre this summer

B.C. emergency alert system being tested Wednesday

Alarm tone and message will play on TV and radio

BC Conservatives pumped by poll results

Surge in popularity has BC party picturing elected representatives in Victoria

Most Read