Motorists have been warned not to leave their dogs in stifling hot cars this summer.
According to a new survey, almost half of people in Scotland – 47 per cent – mistakenly believe it is acceptable to leave a dog in a car if they leave a window open or park in the shade.
But fewer than 20 minutes in a hot car can prove fatal to a dog, should its body temperature exceed 41 degrees celsius.
UK welfare charity Dogs Trust, which has a centre in West Calder, has launched a hard-hitting campaign – which features a video – to warn dog owners of the dangers of leaving their pets in parked cars, even for a few minutes.
As the temperature rises, the dog’s suffering will become evident through excessive panting, whimpering or barking.
This develops into a loss of muscle control and ultimately the kidneys will cease to function, the brain will become irreversibly damaged and the heart will stop.
Paula Boyden, veterinary director of Dogs Trust, said: “As soon as the car doors are shut the countdown begins – which could end in an agonising death for the dog. Don’t leave your dog in a parked car.”