SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Animals Left in Vehicles

SPCA advocates for pet owners to leave their pet at home or in another suitable location on days with warm or very cold weather. Owners must never leave their animal in their vehicle in conditions where the animal may experience distress or harm as a result.

It is sometimes necessary for a person to leave their animal in their vehicle for a short period of time. In warm weather, the vehicle must remain out of the direct sun, the windows must be sufficiently lowered to allow for adequate cross-ventilation, and plenty of drinking water must be provided in a weighted bowl that cannot be knocked over. The animal must never be left in circumstances where they display symptoms of shade-seeking behaviour and anyone, or a combination of, the following: hyperventilation; excessive panting; excessive drooling; lethargy, weakness, or collapse; lack of mental or physical alertness; incoordination; shivering; shallow, slow breathing; or muscle stiffness. In cold weather, the vehicle should have ample bedding to allow the animal to maintain thermal comfort. The animal never should be left in circumstances where they display behaviours indicative of thermal distress.

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