Dogs, as well as other pets, should never be left in a vehicle that is in line with strong sunshine or high temperatures.

This can lead to overheating, distress and suffering, as the temperature inside a car in full sun on a hot day can rise to double the temperature outside within minutes.

Signs of overheating with animals are easy to spot, and when they are seen you must react immediately.

How you can recognise overheating

Faster, heavier panting is a clear gesture that things are beginning to get uncomfortably warm in your car, as well as more activity such as barking or whining.

If you own a dog you may notice a significant increase of saliva produced, with drooling and strands of saliva hanging form your pets mouth.

Check for dark-coloured gums and glossy eyes.

Coping with heat is a lot harder for dogs than it is for humans, as they can't sweat. Long haired dogs are more prone to suffering from heat stress than those with short hair, as well as dogs with snub noses or breathing difficulties.

Unless the heat issue is addressed quickly the dog's body temperature will raise so much that cells begin to die which can lead to seizures, a coma, and death.

How to deal with overheating

You can prevent overheating by regularly stopping and letting your pet walk around in the fresh air for a couple of minutes and provide clean drinking water.

However, if you fear overheating has already occurred you should remove the pet from the vehicle and take it to a cool shaded place, give it water to drink and cool it down by spraying it with water. If possible, dogs can also be cooled down by blowing cool air from a fan over it.

If these instructions do not appear to be working you should promptly contact a vet for further advice.

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