SPCA called to save nearly 500 dogs left in hot cars over summer

The SPCA has been called out to nearly 500 dogs left to overheat in cars over the summer period.

New animal welfare regulations came into effect in October, making it an offence to leave a dog alone in a hot car.

People found guilty of the offence can face a fine of up to $300.

SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen said, as the enforcer, the SPCA has received 490 complaints over dogs left in hot cars over the 2018-2019 summer period.

Temperatures skyrocket in a matter of minutes inside a parked car. In 30degC weather it would take five minutes for the temperature inside the car to reach 39degC and it can hit 49degC in 30 minutes.

Dogs have little opportunity to regulate their body heat, relying on panting and sweating a small amount through their paws.

"In a hot car, even with the windows slightly open, panting is not enough to keep a dog's body temperature within a safe range," Ms Midgen said.

"A dog can withstand a body temperature of 41degC for a short amount of time but will quickly suffer irreparable brain damage and then death."

An SPCA spokesperson told Newshub it received reports of two dogs dying after being left in hot cars over summer, one in Napier and another in Northland.

Young, elderly or overweight animals are most at risk, as well as breeds with short muzzles and thick or dark coats.

Ms Midgen urged all pet owners to keep their pets safe over summer and to not leave pets in hot cars.

"If it's too hot for you to walk along the sand on the beach it will be too hot for your animals. If you can't bear to sit in the car for 10 minutes, neither can your animals."