SIR - As temperatures rise, it’s crucial that people know never to leave a dog in a hot car - even for a few minutes.

Soaring temperatures can cause animals heat stress and other physical harm that can be fatal. On a 26-degree day, the temperature inside a shaded car is 32 degrees, and the inside of a vehicle parked in the sun can reach 70 degrees in minutes. Dogs can cool themselves only by panting and by sweating through their paw pads. Even in the shade, dogs left in parked cars can quickly succumb to heatstroke and incur brain damage or die.

If you see a distressed dog in a car, take down the car’s details, try to locate the owner, and call local authorities. If they are unresponsive and the dog’s life appears to be in danger, find a witness, take steps to remove the animal then wait for authorities to arrive. A dog showing heatstroke symptoms such as restlessness, heavy panting, vomiting should be taken to a shady spot. Provide water and apply a cool towel to its head and chest. Then take the animal to a vet.


Sascha Camilli, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), All Saints Street, London