With temperatures rising across Wales, people are being reminded to protect their pets and not leave them in hot vehicles.
Every year animals are harmed or die by being left alone in cars and vans during warmer weather, even for a very short while.
Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths is reminding people to protect their pets as temperatures hit higher figures.
The Minister said: “Although many of us enjoy the hotter weather, it cannot always be said for our pets who we cherish.
“Some people believe leaving their pet in a vehicle in the shade or with the windows down will be fine, but it is simply not the case.
“Vehicles can get hot very quickly and leaving animals alone in these higher temperatures is very dangerous.
“We love our pets and I encourage everyone to take the steps needed to ensure they are protected and comfortable during warmer weather. If you are out and about with your pet, plan your day carefully making sure they are never left in a vehicle for any amount of time.”
If a pet is seen to be in distress in a vehicle during the warmer weather, it is important to dial 999 immediately and ask for assistance.
Further information on what steps can be taken to protect animals can be found on the RSPCA website.
RSPCA companion animal welfare expert, Dr Samantha Gaines said: “With more warm weather expected across Wales, it’s so important people make a plan to keep their pets safe - and we’d urge pet owners to check out the advice on the RSPCA website.
“Walks are great for our dogs - but when temperatures get very warm, exercise may be too much for them and some dogs, such as those bred for flat faces, are particularly at risk. When it’s really hot, any dog can be affected - so early morning or late evening walks can be much safer at this time of year, as it’s cooler.
“With Covid restrictions at an end, it’s great people are planning trips again and getting out and about - but when it is scorching outside, or if an event isn’t appropriate, owners may wish to consider leaving dogs at home. Busy, loud environments can be very distressing; and dogs need constant access to water and shade.
“It’s also so important to never leave a dog in a car during warm weather. Even if it doesn’t feel very warm outside, dogs can quickly suffer if shut inside a car - and the consequences, sadly, can be fatal. Put simply, dogs die in hot cars.
“It’s also vital pet owners know the signs of heat-related illnesses in dogs. Excessive panting, difficulty breathing, unusual tiredness and a reluctance to play could all be signs something is wrong - so keeping a close eye on our animals is key.”
Wales Rural & Wildlife Crime Coordinator, Rob Taylor said: “Leaving your dog, for only a short time in your car, will result in them overheating with the consequence of death.
“It’s simple, either leave your dog at your home or please do not leave them in your car as your pet will suffer and you could also be prosecuted for your actions.”