SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Signs posted at the Cowles Mountain trailhead warned San Diego hikers to leave their dogs at home during hot weather.
While only three miles long, the trail in Mission Trails Regional Park is steep and often rocky, with no shade. During the cooler months, the trail is popular for dog owners.
County experts say dogs with short snouts, like bulldogs, pugs, and Boston terriers, can have difficulty catching their breath in hot weather. The high heat also puts stress on puppies, older dogs, and overweight pets.
Dogs get dehydrated faster and are more susceptible to heatstroke than humans.
“If the temperature inside your house is cooler than outside, keep your dog indoors,” county experts say.
- Exercise in the early morning and return before midday.
- Consider your dog’s fitness level. Match the trail with his endurance in mind.
- Take more water than you think you’ll need and a water bowl.
- Take plenty of breaks, preferably in the shade.
- Check your dog’s paws regularly to make sure they’re not getting burned.
- Watch for signs of dehydration or heatstroke. They can include excessive panting, drooling, vomiting, weakness or bright red gums, refusal to walk further, collapse, shaking, shock and seizures. If your dog suffers any of these symptoms, stop, preferably in the shade, and offer water. Try to cool your dog off by pouring water over them and then take your pet to the nearest vet.
- Never leave your dog in the car during summer-like temperatures. On an 85-degree day, a car can reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes and soar upward to 120 degrees –even with the windows down an inch or two. Dogs can suffer brain damage, heatstroke and death.