BOISE - A dog died after suffering heat stroke on a trail over the weekend, according to a Facebook post made by the Ridge to Rivers program.
The program and vets are now warning dog owners of the dangers of heat stroke and how common it is. So far this season, West Vet has seen about 10 cases of heat stroke.
Andrea Oncken, a critical care specialist with West Vet couldn’t talk about specific cases, but said she sees these cases often this time of year whether it happened outside on walks or dogs left in hot cars.
"They just don't have as effective of cooling methods," she said.
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She said they can overheat fast. There are signs you can look for. If you notice your dog is weak or panting uncontrollably you need to start cooling them down. Oncken said get them wet and then get them inside and out of the heat as soon as possible.
"The last thing you want to do is go from really hot to really cold, so the best thing is if you're near a stream be sure to get them into the stream, cool them down,” she said. “You don't want to leave them in there because at this point they can't regulate any of their body temperatures."
Even if you do cool your dog down externally, you’re going to want to call your vet. She said your dog could still be overheating internally which could lead to their organs shutting down.
"Externally they might just look like a hot dog, but unfortunately internally their organs are heating up and they can't cool themselves down,” she said. “So, one-by-one the organs essentially, for lack of a better word, they start to cook so…the organ systems will fail."
The number one recommendation is to avoid this completely. Don’t take your dog on that hike if there isn’t a reliable source of water and don’t leave your dog in the car even if you leave the windows cracked and you’re parked in the shade.
"Don't take a chance. Especially if you have some of these big hairy breeds that are made for Arctic weather, they probably shouldn't be out in this weather at all. Any of the bulldogs or short faced breeds are completely unable to cool themselves off," she said.
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