A VETERINARY practice is warning owners not to let their pets suffer in the sun – and never leave them in vehicles.

Wilson Veterinary Group expects to see an increase in the number of pets coming into its surgeries in Bishop Auckland, Newton Aycliffe and Spennymoor with heat-related symptoms as the heat wave sets in.

In some cases, heat can be deadly for pets, so owners need to be extra vigilant when temperatures soar.

Excessive panting, anxious pacing or, in severe cases, collapsing or convulsing can be signs that a pet could be suffering from heatstroke and owners should contact their vet immediately.

Vets are also warning owners to be cautious when having a barbecue, which can be dangerous to pets.

A spokesperson for Wilson Vets said: “Dogs should never be left unattended near a hot barbecue in case they jump up to steal food and other common reasons for a trip to the vet include dogs suffering injuries from swallowing skewers or becoming ill by eating food that is poisonous to pets or high in fat.”

Wilson Vets advises owners to never leave their pets unattended in the car, conservatory or outbuildings; to make sure pets drink plenty of water when it is hot; to watch out for heat stroke; to avoid hot pavements when walking dogs; to stay out of the midday sun; and to watch what pets eat.