ON just a 23 degree day, the inside of a car can reach more than 40 degrees - and a pet can die in less than six minutes.
With four straight days forecast to top 40 degrees next week, RSPCA Victoria is urging people to make sure their pets are not left in hot cars.
The organisation received 209 reports of animals left in vehicles during last year’s summer. They say dogs are particularly at risk of overheating as they pant to cool down, which also adds to the rising temperature in a vehicle.
RSPCA chief executive Maria Mercurio said a dog left in a car or on the back of a ute can suffer a horrific death and even if they are found alive, it can be too late.
"The animal suffers extreme stress, organ failure and seizures until the animal eventually collapses into a coma and die," she said.
She asked people to leave their dogs at home during the warmer months, otherwise they face up to two years imprisonment, $71,000 in fines and a banning order from owning a pet.
“It is critical that pet owners understand the severe implications of leaving their pet in a car – the consequences are often irreversible," she said.
"Unless you’re able to guarantee a cool environment and plenty of fresh water on your travels, we urge pet owners to leave their pets at home."
RSPCA senior inspector Simon Primrose said people should call 000 if they found an animal locked in a vehicle.