With Mother Nature finally treating us to soaring temperatures and sunny skies, many pet owners will have spent the past weekend with their pooch in tow as they played games in the park, barbequed in the garden or made trips to the beach.

But, while your pup will no doubt be enjoying all the extra time spent outdoors just as much as you are, the warm temperatures bring several hazards for dogs which need to be considered in order to keep your pet healthy and happy.

And perhaps the greatest risk that the summer presents to your canine companion is that of heatstroke and dehydration, often caused by leaving animals in hot places, such as cars, conservatories and caravans.

The RSPCA reported that in the three days from May 21st they received 195 reports of animals being left in hot places, including 172 which related to dogs.

"Most people seem to know the 'don't leave dogs in hot cars' message, but I think they just don’t think anything bad will happen to their pets, particularly if they're just leaving them for a few minutes, said RSPCA director of communications David Bowles.

"What people need to realise is that the next animal to die in a hot car, conservatory or outbuilding could be their pet - that's how serious this is."

Often pet owners feel that it is okay to leave a pooch alone in a space such as a car or conservatory provided that they have enough dry dog food, water and an open window.

However, the RSPCA point out that the temperature inside a car can reach up to 47 degrees in less than an hour when the temperature outside the vehicle is a mere 22 degrees.

Therefore, it is essential for pet owners to remember never to leave a dog or any other animal alone in a potentially hot space this summer and to constantly be on the lookout for signs of heat-related conditions such as dehydration and heatstroke.

Written by: Hannah