With Scotland recording its hottest day of the year so far this week, Scots are being reminded to keep an eye out for their four-legged friends.

Temperatures in the last few days have reached highs of 25 degrees, and many have been taking advantage of the easing of lockdown restrictions by venturing out of the house.

But Scottish animal welfare charities and police are warning Scots to be wary of leaving their dogs inside cars, and say that, while it may be 22 degrees outside, this can equate to around 44 degrees inside.

And while pet owners are being urged to take care, advice has been given for anyone who spots a furry friend within a car during these peak temperatures.

HeraldScotland:

"It only takes a few minutes for a dog to overheat in a hot vehicle and leaving a window open or a bowl of water simply is not good enough," warned Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn. "Our message is simple – don’t risk it. 22 degrees outside can mean 44 degrees inside the car.

“If there is a possibility you might be leaving the dog in the car, even on a warm, cloudy day, just leave your pet at home with plenty of water and adequate ventilation. If your pet is outdoors, make sure there is an adequate space with shelter where they can get out of the sun."

What to do if you see a pet in a hot car

Scottish SPCA advises that people's first point of call should be to contact the police immediately on 999.

“A dog in a hot car is in serious and immediate danger and a member of our team will attend any reports of these as quickly as possible," Mr Flynn continued. "If someone witnesses a dog inside a car on a hot day, contact 999 immediately."

Many people ask whether or not you are allowed to break a car window in order to get a dog to safety.

However, this could be classed as criminal damage without proper justification. Anyone who breaks a window this way could find themselves having to defend themselves in court.

Currently, the law states that someone has a lawful excuse to commit damage if they believe the owner of the property they would damage would consent if they knew the circumstances.

Mr Flynn explained: “We would advise anyone who is going to break a dog from a hot car to inform the Scottish SPCA and Police Scotland first and this should always be a last resort.

"We would also advise taking the names and numbers of any witnesses and to take photos and videos of the dog.

“Anyone with concerns about the welfare of an animal should contact the Scottish SPCA’s animal helpline on 03000 999 999.”

How to look after your dog in warm weather:

The Scottish SPCA has released some helpful tips for looking after your dog in hot weather:

  • Dogs benefit from being walked early in the morning or late at night as pavements can get very hot and burn their paws. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for paws.
  • Cooling bandanas, paddling pools or cold/wet blankets are a great way to help a canine keep cool in the heat.
  • If your pet seems uncomfortable, dipping their feet in to water or spraying a mist of water on to their face can help.