THE Scottish SPCA is warning pet owners NEVER to leave their dogs in hot cars, or the consequences could be fatal.
Scotland's animal welfare charity is keen to remind people that leaving a dog in a warm vehicle for even a short period of time can have serious consequences.
Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said, "We run this campaign every summer but some owners simply are not getting the message and we fear that they
don't fully appreciate the dangers they are putting their animals in.
"Many people might not realise that even on warm, cloudy days, cars can effectively turn into ovens and dogs can overheat in minutes.
"Leaving a window open and providing water is not enough. Being left inside a hot vehicle causes dogs to pant to try to cool down and this
can lead to severe dehydration and hyperventilation which is extremely dangerous.
"Most people know what it's like to get into a car after it's been sitting in the sun. It's unbearable and we immediately roll down the windows or turn on the air conditioning.
"Imagine being trapped inside a hot vehicle wearing a fur coat for minutes, possibly hours, and you are some way to understanding how dogs
in hot cars feel."
The charity is urging owners to leave their animals at home in warm weather rather than taking them on a car journey, stressing that dogs have previously died in Scotland as a result of being left in hot cars.
CS Flynn added: "We aren't scaremongering. Sadly, we have dealt with cases where dogs' body temperatures have increased to such a point they have effectively been boiled alive from the inside.
"The suffering they endured would have been horrendous and what's even worse is these tragedies were entirely avoidable.
"Our advice is to leave dogs at home on warm days if they are going to be left in the car for any period of time as it is simply not worth the risk.
"Owners should ensure that their dogs have fresh water available at all times and that there is adequate ventilation in the room. When dogs are kept outdoors, shelter should be provided so they can escape the heat of the sun.
"Causing an animal unnecessary suffering is a criminal offence and anyone found guilty of doing so can be fined and banned from owning animals.
"However, there would be no greater punishment than an owner returning to their car to find their dog has died a horrific death due to their own ignorance."
Scottish SPCA posters highlighting the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars are available to be displayed in local communities. To request copies please phone the charity's Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999 and select option 5.
Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org, providing the address you wish your posters to be sent to and the number you wish to receive.