Summer may seem like the ideal time to take your dog on a hike, but this harrowing rescue underscores why pet owners must be extremely vigilant while exercising dogs in hot weather.
According to KUTV, rescuers were called in to evacuate Leo, a yellow lab stranded on Utah’s Mount Olympus. The 9,000′ peak offers a challenging climb in all types of weather, but the dog’s owner decided to summit the mountain on an almost 100 degree day.
The Humane Society recommends dog owner’s limit their pup’s outdoor activity on hot days. Because dogs don’t sweat like we do, hot temperatures leave them susceptible to heatstroke, irreversible organ damage, and even death.
But Leo’s owner, unfortunately, didn’t get the memo. By the time rescuers arrived on the scene, the 120-pound dog had begun overheating and collapsed, unable to move any further. Complicating matters was that this particular hike didn’t offer much in the way of shade.
Rescuers did their best to make shade, started fanning the pup, and even doused Leo with water to help him cool off. According to rescuers, who detailed this frightening scene on Facebook, Leo was so dehydrated he eventually drank 4-5 liters of water.
“Thankfully, an afternoon thunderstorm blew in and cooled the temperature off a bit,” Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue wrote on Facebook. “We tried to see if Leo could walk with some assistance, but he was too weak, so he was loaded into a litter and was taken down the mountain as quickly as possible.”
It took rescuers several hours to get Leo down the mountain, where he was immediately rushed to the vet for emergency care. “Leo looked happy and relieved to be getting the help he needed to get hydrated and get off the mountain,” rescuers wrote. “We hope that he can get the medical help he needs tonight and pull through.”
Rescue: #33 dehydrated hiker and dog.Callout Time: 3:57 PM 07/27/2020Duration: 6 hours 20 Minutes SLCOSAR was…
Fortunately, Leo is expected to make a full recovery according to rescuers, who reported that the dog’s kidney function is returning to normal. But this whole situation could have been avoided if Leo’s owner had just been more careful about limiting his dog’s heat exposure, which is why rescuers have taken this opportunity to remind other dog owners about summer pet safety.
“Remember your four-legged friend doesn’t regulate heat as well as you do,” the rescue team wrote. “If you’re going to hike with your doggy leave early or wait a few more months until it cools off.”
J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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