PEOPLE in the North-East are more likely to leave their dog alone in their car than their mobile phone, according to new figures.

The Dogs Trust, which carried out the study, found 47 per cent of people in the region would leave their dog alone in their car, while just five per cent would leave their mobile phone.

A further 42 per cent of people believe it is acceptable to leave a dog in a car if they leave a window open or park in the shade.

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The hard-hitting figures come as the dog welfare charity launches its largest campaign to date – Hot Dogs - to warn owners of the dangers of leaving their pets in parked cars, even for a few minutes.

Less than 20 minutes in a hot car can prove fatal to a dog if its body temperature exceeds 41 degrees Celsius.

With more hot weather expected this summer and as people take to the roads with their dogs over the May bank holiday, the charity is urging people not to leave their pets alone in their car.

Paula Boyden, veterinary director at the charity, said: “We claim to be a nation of dog lovers, but it’s shocking how many people are willing to put man’s best friend in serious danger.

“As soon as the car doors are shut the countdown begins - which could potentially end in an agonising death for the dog. Our message is simple: don’t leave your dog in a parked car.”

The charity is urging people to keep their dogs as cool as possible when driving, to carry water for their pets and to stop regularly for water breaks.

Anyone wanting to report a dog left unattended in a hot car can call the police on 101 or the RSPCA on 0300-1234-999.