Keep Pets Safe this Summer, Do Not Leave Them in Hot Vehicles

Published on June 22, 2020

The Ontario government is strongly urging everyone to ensure their pet is not left unattended in a vehicle during the hot summer weather. Temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly become much hotter than the temperature outside even if the windows are opened slightly. This can put pets at risk of serious illness and possibly death. If your pet can't be with you at your destination, leave them at home where they will be safe, cool and comfortable.

"It is critically important to ensure all pets are protected from the potential fatal effects of the hot summer sun," said Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General. "Leaving pets to suffer in a sweltering vehicle will not be tolerated and we have adopted tough new laws to deter this type of reckless behaviour in the province."

Ontario is the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement a full provincial government-based animal welfare enforcement system. The Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Act came into effect January 1, 2020 and allows police, First Nations constables and provincial animal welfare inspectors to enter motor vehicles to help pets in distress. The legislation also has the strongest penalties in the country for people who violate animal welfare laws, including causing distress to animals.

If you see an animal in a hot car and are concerned the animal's life is in immediate danger, dial 911. Members of the public should not attempt to enter a vehicle in these situations.  

Quick Facts

  • Unlike humans, dogs have a very limited ability to sweat. Even a short period in a hot environment can cause suffering and distress, which could result in brain damage or death.
  • Excessive panting, drooling, listlessness, collapsing or seizures are all examples of visible signs of heat stress in animals. If you witness these signs in your pet, move the animal to a cool area and seek veterinary attention immediately.
  • Cruelty to any animal is not tolerated in Ontario. If you think an animal is in distress or being abused, call 1-833-9-ANIMAL (264625).

Additional Resources