DOGS left in hot cars start to cook from the inside as their internal organs shut down.

It's a horrific way to die and why pet owners are reminded to never leave an animal in a car.

It can take just minutes for dogs' temperatures to rise above 40, even if a car is parked in the shade.

Bargara Veterinary Surgery's Dr Claire Rich said after two minutes a car could reach up to 50 degrees.

"We see a condition called heatstroke," she said.

"It can just be mild. They can just start getting a fever which with active cooling we can get down but it can cause a cascade of problems which can be things from vomiting and diarrhoea through to the severe where you get clotting problems and going into shock and pretty much the body just starts to shut down," she said.

"You wouldn't leave your child in a car so don't leave your pet in a car."

Wide Bay Burnett RSPCA inspector Penny Flaherty said dogs were unable to sweat to cool themselves down so reach higher temperatures much quicker.

"Leaving an animal alone at all in a vehicle, even in the shade with the window down is not appropriate," she said.

"Dogs can heat up in a matter of minutes and the internal damage can be irreversible.

"Because dogs can't sweat they cool down by panting but once they get to a certain temperature that doesn't allow them to cool down and they cook."

Ms Flaherty said there had been cases across the state where people had been prosecuted for having an animal in a vehicle.

Members of the public are urged to seek emergency help immediately if they notice an animal inside a car. In a shopping centre car park, notify centre management, or phone 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625) or call your local police station.

Punishment:

Leaving pets in cars can be an offence under Section (17) Breach of Duty of Care, or section (18) Animal Cruelty.

The maximum penalty is three years in prison or a $220,000 fine.

In addition, leaving an animal without appropriate water and shelter is an offence under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 and you may be prosecuted.


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