Car windows can intensify heat from the sun
Four dogs have died after being left in hot cars in the Highlands, animal welfare officers have revealed.
The Scottish SPCA said two of the dead animals were found in the same vehicle in Inverness.
They also received reports of the death of another dog in a separate incident in the city, and of a dog in Tain.
The charity said heat from the sun was intensified through glass, and could cause a dog to effectively boil alive from the inside.
Northern Constabulary have reported someone to the procurator fiscal over the incident in Tain.
Scottish SPCA Ch Supt Mike Flynn said that with temperatures expected to peak at 26C this week, people should be aware of the risks associated with leaving a dog in a hot vehicle for even a short period of time.
Mr Flynn added: "Many people don't realise just how dangerous an act this is and we are getting reports of it happening all over the country.
"Last July two Shar Pei dogs were left in the back of a car in full sun while their owner went to the cinema.
"It was clear as soon as we arrived that the animals were in extreme distress. We had to force entry to the car by smashing the back windscreen and we were given a police escort to the nearest vets for emergency treatment.
"Both dogs required rehydration via a drip. The internal body temperature of the female was 41.5C. Luckily the dogs survived, but any longer and I've no doubt they would have over heated and died."
The owner of the Shar Pei dogs was fined £400 after being successfully prosecuted.
Mr Flynn said dogs pant to try to cool down, which can lead to severe dehydration and hyperventilation.
He added: "The body temperature of the animal will increase to the point where it is effectively boiled alive from the inside.
"Opening a window a little or leaving a bowl of water is simply not enough.
"Our advice to people is to leave your dog at home and make adequate arrangements for feeding or exercise needs. It is far kinder than subjecting it to a very uncomfortable, and potentially dangerous, situation."