Viper

SAR K9 Viper

The Los Angeles metro area was under an excessive heat warning the third week of June, with temperatures in some areas predicted to reach triple digits on Tuesday, June 15. Although Malibu’s close proximity to the beach often keeps us cooler than nearby valleys and inland areas, even “mild” hot weather can still cause adverse health effects in humans—notably, the elderly and young children—as well as pets.

Malibu Search and Rescue Team, which in the past has been called upon to rescue overheated dogs on trails in and around Malibu, took to social media to publish a list of reminders for dog owners to keep their companions healthy and happy in ongoing high heat. The list was written from the perspective of SAR K9 Viper, a black Labrador retriever:

“Keep us trim and fit. If your dog is older or out of shape, leave the dog home.

Bring tons of extra water. Most of the people we encounter have insufficient fluids for themselves, let alone their dogs.

Hike with us only in the early morning or evening hours if temps are cooler.

We dehydrate very fast and can succumb to heat stroke within minutes. Since we can’t talk, you won’t know until it’s too late. We don’t have to be hiking long before things go bad.

Take frequent breaks in the shade to rest and hydrate us.

Watch us for signs of heat stroke: excessive panting, curled tongue at the end, drooling, a dazed look, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, bright red eyes/gums, refusal to walk further, collapse or shaking.

Check our paw pads during the hike. We tend to get burned pads, thorns, pebbles and other painful obstructions.

Don’t hike with us mid-day.

Don’t hike in areas with foxtails, goatheads or stickers.

Don’t take out short snouted dogs in the heat.

Don’t ever leave us in a car. It becomes an oven.

Call 911 immediately when you see that we aren’t feeling well. If you are close to a trailhead, carry the dog out. Actively cool them with wet towels and fanning and get them water to drink and into an air conditioned vehicle.

Delays result in death so quickly. We know you love us but it’s best to leave us home when you hike in temps over 75 degrees or on high humidity days.”

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