THE RSPCA received more than 300 calls in a week - which equates to two calls per hour - during a mini-heatwave which swept across England and Wales.

Six of the calls were in Hampshire

The animal welfare charity received 317 reports of animals in hot environments between May 28 and June 3, the majority of which were dogs that had been left in hot cars - when temperatures hit the mid-20s.

And with the mercury in thermometers predicted to hit the 70 mark every day for the forthcoming week, a warning has gone out to pet owners and to the public about the dangers of leaving animals exposed to the sun for too long.

The advice states people should call the police on 999 if they see a dog in distress in a hot car – on average more than two calls per hour are made to the charity.

The RSPCA is one of 14 organisations which run the Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign each year, reminding pet owners never to leave their animals in hot environments such as vehicles, caravans, conservatories, and outbuildings.

Campaign manager Holly Barber said: “It’s difficult to understand why we are still receiving so many calls when the weather improves and why owners are still dicing with their pets’ lives.

“It’s simple - never leave your pet alone in a hot environment. Whether you’re popping into the shop for a newspaper or nipping into a pharmacy to pick up a prescription, please don’t take the risk.”

And she added: “Last month in one week, we had more than 300 calls about animals in hot environments and this figure should be zero.”

Unfortunately, despite the campaign’s clear messaging, owners continue to put their pets at risk by leaving them unattended in stationary vehicles, believing they will be okay if they park in the shade or leave windows open.

The RSPCA is urging owners never to take the risk and to either take their pet with them for their outing or leave them at home in the cool with access to lots of water.

If you see a dog in a hot car and have concerns, call the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency line on 0300 1234 999 for advice.

If you believe that the dog needs immediate help or is in distress, call the police on 999 as police officers have the power to enter a vehicle and remove the animal.