FOLLOWING the sunniest spring on record and now that Summer is officially here.

PDSA is urging owners to remember that ‘not long’ is too long when it comes to leaving dogs (or any pet) in cars, even if it’s overcast outside. The vet charity also has advice for the public about what to do if you do come across a distressed dog in a car.

Put yourself in their paws. Even parked in the shade with the windows open, a car can quickly begin to feel like an oven. Many pet owners believe it will never happen to them, yet every year people gamble with their beloved dogs’ lives, and every summer we hear tragic stories of dogs who have died after being left in a car.

PDSA Vet Anna Ewers Clark, said: “Because dogs can only sweat through their paws, they mainly rely on panting to cool them down. This means that, when the air is baking hot around them, they can’t cool down very well. Trapped in a hot car, dogs can quickly succumb to heatstroke, which can be fatal without urgent medical attention. Even if they don’t get heatstroke, imagine how painful, distressing and frightening it must be for them to be trapped and overheating.”

If you see a dog left in a car, first check if they are displaying any signs of heatstroke. This is a serious illness which happens when a pet’s body temperature rises and they overheat. It’s an emergency situation and needs treatment right away.

Ask yourself these questions to spot a dog in distress from heatstroke. Is the dog panting heavily? Is the dog drooling excessively? Does the dog appear lethargic, drowsy, or uncoordinated? Is the dog collapsed or vomiting? If yes to one or more of the above, the dog could be showing early or advanced signs of heatstroke and immediate action should be taken by calling 999.

Anna added: “Don’t be afraid to dial 999 – the police deal with hundreds of similar incidents each year. You can also report the incident to the RSPCA, but the police have powers of entry."