Animals in cars

You must not leave your animals in a parked car, even with the windows open. 

A rise in temperature can cause dehydration and blood thickening, leading to brain damage, vital organ failure and even death. 

An animal can be affected by heat stroke in six minutes.

You should leave your animal at home with access to shade and water.

If your animal is left in a parked vehicle and it suffers injury or death you can be charged under the Animal Welfare Act. 

The fine can be very substantial and you could be facing two years imprisonment.

Animal Welfare inspectors have the right to enter your vehicle to rescue any animal.

Signs of heat stroke

To tell if an animal is suffering heat stroke, look for any of the following signs:

  • high body temperature above 39 degrees
  • quick and regular panting
  • distressed and agitated behaviour
  • weakness and muscle tremors
  • convulsions (seizures) or collapsing.

How to help an animal with heat stroke

If you notice any of the signs of heat stroke, treat the animal by gradually bringing the body temperature down. 

You can try any of the following ways to help the animal:

  • offer small amounts of cool, not cold, water
  • gently wet the animal's coat using a hose or other shower-like apparatus
  • place a cool, wet towel over the animal in front of a fan
  • place the animal in an air conditioned environment
  • apply a covered ice pack to the groin area

Never offer iced water or ice to a animal as this can worsen the heat stroke.

Once the animal is cooled consult a vet for a check-up and make sure the car is kept cool.

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Last updated: 27 June 2017