A blazing hot day. A car door locks.

On the front seat sits a forlorn looking dog made out of ice. Slowly he turns completely transparent as water begins to drip from his eyes, then his nose, then from everywhere.

In time-lapsed footage the sculpture melts away until all that is left is a little red colour and a real lump in the throat of anyone watching.

In real time the whole thing took less than 20 minutes.

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Today (Friday) is rumoured to be one of the hottest days of the year, with the mercury set to push almost 32 degrees celsius.

In preparation for just such an event the animal charity Dogs Trust created the video in question as part of its Hot Dogs summer campaign to prevent pets dying in cars.

And it has won the backing of a former pet shop owner who is currently training to be a dog groomer in Chiswick.

Claire Matthews, a dog groomer based in Chiswick, backs campaign to keep our four-legged friends safe in hot weather.
 

Claire Matthews, 39, has her own horror story to tell when it comes to almost watching one of our four-legged friends bake to death while locked inside a vehicle.

Two years ago on a scorching hot day a man parked his new van, bought from the dealer that very morning, outside Claire’s pet shop Tail End, in Station Road, Hampton, which she had owned for 10 years.

After getting out, he was too late to stop his staffordshire bull terrier from jumping on the lock and accidentally sealing itself in the car with the keys.

The man spotted the pet shop and ran inside pleading with Claire to help him. She noticed the dog’s panting becoming heavier and ordered the man to smash the windows, which being a new car he couldn’t bring himself to do.

Claire got the keys for her own car - a Subaru Impreza - which without second thought she gave to the dog owner and ordered him to return to the dealer to pick up a replacement set of keys.

Once he’d gone, she dashed into the local dry cleaners and pleaded with employees to give her some clothes so she could drape them over the car windows.

After a couple of trips back and forth, she had managed to cover the car so the dog was at least in shade.

After 15 minutes the man had still not returned and Claire was on the verge of smashing the windows herself, she even filled a bucket with cold water to douse the dog in once she’d saved it.

As she got the bucket to the car, the owner was just returning and the dog, suffering heat stroke and dehydration, was finally rescued.

Since cervical cancer forced her to sell her pet shop; Claire, who has two pugs of her own called Blossom and Percy, has retrained as a groomer at Dogs Delight in Burlington Lane, Chiswick.

Claire Matthews with her two pugs Blossom and Percy.
 

She said: “I just did what I knew I had to do and luckily the dog in that case survived, but too many don’t get so lucky.

“The video the Dogs Trust has made is heartbreaking, I defy anyone not to be moved to tears if they care about animals.”

Research carried out by Dogs Trust reveals more than one in 10 people know of a dog that has come to harm left in a parked car in hot weather

While almost half of us (48%) mistakenly believe it is ok to leave a dog in a car if counter-measures are taken such as cracking open a window or parking in shade.

Under 20 minutes in a hot car can prove fatal to a dog should its body temperature exceed 41°C.

As the temperature inside the car rises, in just a matter of minutes, the dog’s suffering will become evident through excessive panting, whimpering or barking.

This will develop into a loss of muscle control and ultimately the kidneys will cease to function, the brain will become irreversibly damaged and the heart will stop.

Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director of Dogs Trust, 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.”

In addition to Dogs Trust’s research, the AA has disclosed that the number of potentially fatal incidents involving dogs trapped in cars has risen by over 50 per cent in the last six years.

AA Patrols are most commonly called out by worried owners who have accidentally locked their keys in the car with their pet. Since the start of April this year the AA has attended more than 150 breakdowns because of a pet locked in the car.

AA Patrol of the Year, Mark Spowage said: “The dangers are obvious; you just have to touch the dashboard or seats to know how hot the inside of a car can get. But it’s not just on warm days when dogs are at risk – vehicles can be death-traps even in cooler temperatures.”

Cavalier King Charles Lolly (L) looks at an ice sculpture created by Dogs Trust to warn of the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images for Dogs Trust)
 

Dogs Trust vets have issued the following advice to pet owners and concerned animal lovers:

• Don’t leave your dog in a parked car, even for a few minutes- even if it seems cool outside it can become very hot very quickly. Parking in the shade and/or keeping the windows down does not make it safe!

• If you see a dog in distress in a parked car call the Police Service (101) or the RSPCA(SSPCA in Scotland)

• Make sure you keep your dog as cool as possible when driving: avoid travelling during the heat of the day, use sun blinds on the windows and consider opening a window a little to allow a cooling breeze to circulate in the vehicle

• Make sure you have a supply of water and know where you can stop off en route for water breaks. Dogs are not able to cool down as effectively as humans so could suffer from heat stroke and dehydration very quickly

• If you are present at the rescue of a dog from a hot car that is clearly in distress, seek immediate veterinary advice. The very first priority is to prevent the dog from getting any hotter, attempt to provide shade from the sun and move to a cooler area.

Dampening the dog down with cool (but not freezing) water will help start to bring the body temperature down.

• Wet towels can be used to cool a dog but these must be regularly changed or spraying them down with water and placing them in front of the air conditioning vent to enhance evaporation on the way to the emergency appointment.