More dogs dying from heat while hiking

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Three dogs have reportedly died and one passed out so far in the month of July due to summer heat.

These deaths all happened during the hottest hours of the day, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. The Pinnacle Mountain State Park officials say that if you're hot in this Arkansas sun, your dog is even hotter.

"Dogs are not designed to be hiking Pinnacle Mountain during 90 degree weather," said Jillian Rossi, state park interpreter.

Rossi explained that sweat helps releases heat from the human body, but a dog can only pant, which is not a fast way to cool down.

"The humidity affects people, but it affects dogs up to three times more," said Rossi, who says the heat affects dogs' vital organs first.

"Definitely take at least a gallon of cold water with you, take several breaks going up the mountain," said Rossi.

Dr. Brian Peters, owner and veterinarian at the Hot Springs and Lake Hamilton clinic, says that a humans' normal temperature is 98.6 degrees, compared to a dogs' base temperature, which is between is 101 and 102 degrees.

After three dogs died of heat stroke, the state park decided to post new warning signs at their trail heads.

"We had to have our medical team go up and bring him down the mountain, which was pretty awful," said Rossi.

Matthew Friant, another state park interpreter, carried one of the dogs that died on the summit last week down the mountain.

"I felt maybe worse than if it were a person, because dogs hold a special place in my heart. I have six of them of my own," said Friant.

According to Friant, the dog owner did not bring any water with them on the hike.

If you still want to get outside and exercise with your furry friend, park officials have suggestions on being safe.

"Take them on one of the ground trails like the King Fischer or base trails. I just want to keep them off the mountain itself," said Friant.

The state park officials also say there's no such thing as "too much water" on a hike.

Dr. Peters recommends bringing rubbing alcohol with you on a hike with your dog to put on their paws if they overheat. This helps them cool down faster. He also suggests early morning or late evening workouts and for short time periods.

He said dumping water on your pet will not help with cooling them down internally.


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