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Pet-owners have been warned never to leave their furry friends unattended in hot, parked cars.

Veterinary surgeon Dr Mark Middleton explains that a parked car can become a death trap for a dog and even a cat.

When the outside temperature is 20 °C, Dr Middleton says the inside of a car can get up to 40 °C in the space of 30 minutes.

This is well over the core body temperature of a dog or cat.

When a dog's blood temperature starts rising, its blood circulation can shut down and cause blood clots.

Canines can, as a result, suffer fits, multiple organ failure and anal bleeding, he explains.

According to Dr Middleton, snub-nosed dogs struggle more with heat distress and can overheat much quicker.

Dogs don't have the sweat glands we have. They can only sweat through their paws and let out heat through their mouth and nose. They don't have the ability to lose heat as quick as humans do.

Dr Mark Middleton, Veterinary surgeon - SPCA

Some of the signs that a dog may be overheating:

  • excessive panting
  • salivating
  • weakness
  • restlessness
  • looking distressed or disorientated
  • fits
  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting

If your dog suffers heat distress, immediately get the dog into a cool, shaded area. Give them drinking water. Wet them down around the head area or create a breeze by using a fan.

Get them to the vet as soon as possible. Do not give them an ice bath as this can cause shock or hypothermia.

The animal welfare organisation, Cape Of Good Hope SPCA says humans need to recognise the sentience of animals.

CEO Mqabuko Moyo Ndukwana says animals are entitled to five freedoms and should be treated with dignity and respect.

We need to understand that do feel pain and do suffer in the same way that humans would suffer if they were left in a vehicle.

Mqabuko Moyo Ndukwana, CEO - Cape Of Good Hope SPCA

We need to change our perceptions and the way that we relate with our animals.

Mqabuko Moyo Ndukwana, CEO - Cape Of Good Hope SPCA

Listen to the Pet feature on The Pippa Hudson Show:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Here's what happens to a dog left in a hot car (and why you should never do it)

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