Timely warning for dog owners - don’t leave your pooch in the car!

Dog owners have been given a timely summer warning about leaving their pets locked up in their car on a hot summer’s day.

A recent survey has shown that leaving a dog locked in the car on a hot day can prove fatal in as little as 20 minutes.

“Most of us have seen a dog locked up in a car on a hot day but how many people are aware just how quickly conditions can become so unbearable as to be life threatening,” said a spokesman for the survey.

According to the results, the animal medications and pet well-being specialists who conducted the survey of 1000 people said only a third realised that a dog could suffer serious illness or even die within 20 minutes of being left within a vehicle.

“A staggering 62 per cent of people believed it was safe to leave a dog an hour or more before returning to check on their well-being,” said a spokesman.

“Most alarming of all, 38 per cent of those would unwittingly leave their dog for 90 minutes of more without being concerned.”

He added that even if the weather outside was only mild a car can accumulate heat in a very short space of time.

“With an outside temperature of 22 deg the temperature inside a car will have risen to 47 deg within an hour, a fact known by only 55 per cent of people we spoke to.”

Vet John Cousins said that such a lack of awareness was putting animals at risk.

“Dogs develop heatstroke very quickly and the condition can very rapidly become life threatening,” he said.

“Dogs do not sweat like humans but try to regulate their heat by panting or perspsiring through paw pads. In an airless car, with hot upholstery, the combination can prove fatal. Within minutes a dog can suffer irreversible brain damage or die,” he added.

He said it was not enough to leave a window open or use a sun shield.

It is not illegal in the UK to leave a dog in a car but an owner may be prosecuted for mis-treating their pet.Anyone seeing a pet in distress should call the SSPCA or the police.