Ms McAlpine highlighted research by Dog’s Trust which shows that many people believe it is fine to leave a dog in a hot car if counter-measures are taken, such as leaving a window open or parking under a tree.
In fact, under 20 minutes in a hot car can prove fatal to a dog, should its body exceed 41°C.
The SNP MSP for South Scotland warned that even on wet or cooler days, leaving a pet in the car can be dangerous.
Ms McAlpine said:
“Many people don’t know that dogs take a lot longer than humans to cool down and with temperatures rising over the summer it is more important than ever that dog owners are warned of the dangers of leaving their pets unattended in cars. Even on cooler or very wet days, cars can become very hot, very quickly, and be fatal for dogs.
“You just need to touch the dashboard or seat of a car to see how hot it can get. And parking in the shade or leaving the window down will not make it any safer.
“If you are carrying your dog in the car over the summer please ensure you take plenty of drinking water, use sun blinds on the windows and do not leave the dog in a parked car, even for a few minutes.
“If you do see a dog in distress in a parked car, call the police or the SSPCA immediately.”