Dog owners are being urged to be extra vigilant after vets had to save a puppy from the brink of death due to severe heatstroke.

Forecasters are predicting temperatures in the high 20s for many areas of Essex for the next four days.

Today temperatures are expected to be around 28C with highs of 31C in Southend at around 3pm.

Wednesday and Thursday will see 30C reached in Colchester and Southend.

The warning to dog owners comes after American Bulldog Finlay was left fighting for his life after his body temperature soared to a life-threatening 42.2C during recent hot weather.

The one-year-old - who was born with three legs - became overheated when his owner Shona McLaren took him to a park.

She said: "I always bring water for Finlay to drink and keep his walks short.

"On this occasion, some children starting playing with him and he ran around for a few minutes.

"I saw him panting and was concerned that he might be getting too hot so decided to take him home to cool down."

The 38-year-old added: "His breathing became more laboured. He sat down and didn't want to move.

"Then he collapsed completely and his eyes became glassy and his tongue started to turn blue. I've never been more scared in my life."

Ms McLaren picked up her puppy and drove him straight to Glasgow East PDSA Pet Hospital, where he was rushed in for emergency treatment.

Vets worked to bring his temperature down slowly to avoid shock and risking organ failure.

His body was hosed down with cool water and he was on a drip and oxygen therapy.

The dog was reunited with his owner after a "tense" couple of hours and has since recovered.

Terri Steel, vet, said: "While any dog can suffer heatstroke, certain dogs are more at risk.

"Flat-faced breeds such as Bulldogs, Pugs and Shih Tzus are more likely to experience heatstroke as they can't cool down as effectively through panting, compared to dogs with a longer nose.

"So it's especially important to make sure they don't overheat in the first place.

"Obese dogs, those with very thick coats, dogs that are dressed up, very young pets, and those with breathing problems are also all at higher risk."