SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Humane Society reminded dog ownersTuesday to avoid bringing their pets on hikes during periods of hot weather to protect them from heatstroke.
The humane society’s Emergency Response Team rescued a large dog showing signs of distress last Saturday on the Three Sisters Falls hiking trail in Descanso. The dog, named Joey, collapsed and started panting heavily roughly half a mile along the trail.
“A 180-pound Mastiff is a big big animal and difficult to rescue, and that’s part of the extenuating circumstances here,” said Lt. John Peaveler of the San Diego Humane Society. “A younger, smaller dog might have been able to cope better.”
The ERT took the dog to the humane society’s Animal Urgent Care facility in Escondido, where the staff treated him for heat exhaustion and separated pads on his feet.
Pet owners should avoid strenuously exercising their animals when temperatures are 70 degrees or higher, according to the humane society. Dogs absorb more heat from the ground than humans do because they’re closer to it. Walking on asphalt and concrete can harm an animal’s paws because they are generally hotter than the air temperature.
“Dogs don’t have the ability to say, ‘I’m thirsty’ or ‘I’m tired.’ They are all in. Everything about their personality and energy level is we’re going to keep going, going, going, and by the time they are dehydrated, its too late,” Peaveler said.
The humane society also advises keeping pets out of hot vehicles, ensuring they have plenty of cool water and exercising them during cooler periods of the day like early morning or later in the evening.
Residents should take their pets to a veterinarian as soon as possible if they show signs of heat exhaustion or stress, which can include heavy breathing, glazed eyes, a higher-than-normal pulse, an unsteady stride, vomiting or a dark red tongue.