Dog dies of heat stroke at Mission Trails

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SAN DIEGO -- Despite posted warning signs and 100-plus degree temperatures, some hikers at Mission Trails Park decided to brave the heat -- and brought their dogs along.

The warnings about heat exhaustion and heat stroke for dogs went up Monday after a bulldog died before it ever made it back down the trail.

FOX 5 happened upon ‘Peetie’ as he and his owner stumbled their way back down the trail just after noon Wednesday, the sun blazing overhead at 104 degrees. The dog was visibly struggling, his breathing labored.

According to Ranger Christine Axtmann, the dog was dangerously close to heat stroke.

“In this heat they have no way to sweat at all," she said. "It just evaporates through the mouth so you have to wet their groin and their armpits. That will help bring their core temperature down but otherwise, they are wearing a fur coat.”

Unlike people, dogs do not have the ability to sweat, so giving them water will not help once they reach a critical state of heat exposure.

“When you felt his gums they were incredibly hot. You feel the outside of the dog, he’s cooled down with the water -- not the inside. He’s just baking with heat stroke," Axtmann said.

The ranger said the problem is that people don’t believe the risks are real and don’t know what to watch out for.

“Heavy panting, the nose gets dry and you should feel the gums. The bulldog was actually bleeding from the mouth and nose on Monday," she said.

A tourist visiting from New Jersey tried to help.

“It was astonishing. Kinda scary. There are a lot of signs right here by the bathroom that read, 'a dog died Monday.' No reason to bring your dog up here when it’s 90-something degrees. It's horrible. It's too hot for humans."

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