With Thursday (25 June) set to be the hottest day of the year so far for England and Wales – and because COVID-19 social-distancing guidelines are resulting in longer queues for people out running errands – 2020 could be the deadliest year ever when it comes to dogs left in hot cars.

Soaring temperatures can cause animals heat stress and other physical harm that can be permanent and even fatal.

But keeping animals safe is simple.

Ensure you never leave them in a parked car in warm weather, even for short periods with the windows slightly open.

On a 26-degree day, the temperature inside a shaded car is 32 degrees, and the inside of a vehicle parked in the sun can reach 70 degrees.

A dog trapped inside a parked car can succumb to heatstroke within minutes – even when the car isn't parked in direct sunlight – because unlike humans, dogs can cool themselves only by panting and by sweating through their paw pads.

Please, leave animals indoors at home instead.

Just brief periods of direct sun exposure can have life-threatening consequences, but if animals must be outdoors, they should have access to ample water and plenty of shade.

For more information on keeping animals safe, please visit PETA.org.uk.

Jennifer White

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)