Just 10 minutes in a hot car in summer is enough to put a dog in danger, the SPCA is warning.
It's just one of the messages the SPCA is wanting to get across, as the SPCA in Whanganui moves into a new era of combined management with Manawatu.
"If you're going out in the car, do your very, very best to leave your dog at home," Manawatu SPCA general manager Danny Auger is cautioning Whanganui residents.
Summer's hot weather, with recording of 26C in some parts of Whanganui this week means even with windows cracked, air circulation can be minimal.
Mr Auger said even a car parked in the shade on a hot summer day could quickly reach deadly temperatures for a dog.
"As soon as a car reaches about 42 degrees inside, your dog's on its way out."
Mr Auger said dogs started suffering brain damage at 41 degrees. On a hot day, a car could reach those temperatures in about 15 minutes, he said, comparing it to being in a greenhouse.
As summer starts to heat up, it's also a good time for people to remember to de-flea their pets monthly, Mr Auger said.
People should buy flea treatment that stopped the whole flea cycle, rather than things like flea collars, which were "basically a collar full of poison", could cause irritation, and didn't work as well, he said.
Summer, which brings with it fleas and hot cars, also creates an overload of kittens.
"[Kitten] season's started a little earlier this year . . . as soon as the weather starts to get warm, the cats come into heat.
"Kitten season in Whanganui right now is so over the top for the SPCA . . . they're continuing to flood in."
Wanganui SPCA currently has about 80 cats and kittens in its care, although some of those are being kept in foster homes until they are ready to be adopted out.
Anyone wanting to help look after kittens and/or mother cats can contact the Wanganui SPCA, which will pay for all the costs while the fosterer looks after the animal.
Another way the SPCA copes with too many animals is to take some of the kittens to Animates pet store, which they have already started doing this summer.
"If we're doing Animates runs it obviously means we're not able to cope with the number of kittens," Mr Auger said.
Whanganui has a large number of cats and kittens that end up in the SPCA, and Mr Auger said they were working on reducing these numbers.
Anyone who spends $20 in the SPCA op shop will receive a voucher to de-sex their male cat for free, and the SPCA would be looking at providing financial assistance for people to de-sex their female cats too.
"If somebody has a female cat that's reading this story and thinks it's not going to get pregnant, they're living in a dream world. It will get pregnant, there's no doubt about it."
The SPCA were working on spreading the de-sexing message, and were going out into the community and visiting schools to educate people.
Wanganui SPCA would generally only put animals down if they were unwell and wouldn't get better or would be too expensive to treat. If a cat stayed too long without being adopted, they would move it to the Palmerston North SPCA, which recently merged with Wanganui.
"That's definitely helped, being a region rather than an SPCA that used to stand alone."
Whanganui people could expect to see other changes, including more fundraising and education efforts from SPCA staff.
A cash injection from Palmerston North SPCA meant Wanganui SPCA could stay open, but it would only last so long without help from the public, he said.
One idea was to turn their staff room into a conference room which could be hired out to businesses.
Meanwhile, open hours at Wanganui SPCA have extended, with the doors open from 11am-3pm on weekdays and 11am-2pm on weekends.
Among the animals kept there at the moment is a goat, Mr Auger said.
"A gentleman walked out to hang the washing out yesterday and found a baby goat in his back garden."
Along with the cats, dogs, and everything else, the goat would soon be up for adoption.