A VET is warning dog owners not to leave their pets locked in cars or conservatories as the weather heats up.

Kevin Wood, clinical director of Cherrydown Vets, which has surgeries in Basildon, Wickford and Stanford le Hope, said temperatures inside a car can reach 120 degrees within minutes.

He said: “Cars and conservatories can quickly become like ovens and animals can die within 20 minutes from heatstroke – even if the windows are slightly down and there’s a bowl of water.”

Kevin also advises against walking dogs on hot days and throwing balls for them to chase. He said: “It is much better they stay cool with plenty of water. Breeds such as boxers and collies will not stop playing, even though they are dangerously dehydrated, and will suddenly collapse.

“Others such as King Charles spaniel, Staffordshire bull-terrier and bulldogs are also particularly susceptible.

“Signs of dehydration include excessive panting and heaving flanks. If a dog shows signs of heat exhaustion a vet must be called immediately and the dog hosed down, covered in wet towels or fanned.

“Pets must have access to water at all times – even on walks.”

If you see a dog in a parked car on a warm day call the police on 999 or the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.