Hiking with a Dog in the Heat

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Hiking with a Dog in the Heat

Postby Wildhorse » Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:35 pm

Another dog died on Cowles Mountain on Monday. Heat stroke. A special alert sign at the trailhead warning that this might happen did not deter the dog's owner. I don't know why the owner hiked with the dog anyway. Dogs don't have a great chance in the heat. Their cooling systems don't handle it well.

A friend says that it was probably ignorance, in spite of the sign. I don't know. The sign is hard to miss, being right in the middle of the trail.

After hiking Cowles yesterday evening, I stopped at a Starbucks nearby. I noticed a beautiful dog resting on the cool floor. A few feet away sat a disheveled, dirty and sweaty woman with a scowl on her face. She was playing with her smart phone. Sitting at the same small table with her was another woman playing solitaire on her computer. They appeared to know each other, and the dog. After a while the dog sat up and went to the disheveled woman. She paid no attention. Then dog barked once. She something angry to the dog and returned to her cell phone. The dog moved away a few feet and began to circle as if planning to do his business right there. The woman shouted at the dog, the dog came to her, and she lectured the dog with her angry voice. She seemed to be angry that the dog distracted her from her cell phone. The dog began to squirm nervously. Finally, the woman took the dog outside briefly. Hopefully the dog found relief there. The dog is in danger.

I see so much cruelty to dogs on Cowles Mountain and elsewhere that I don't think ignorance explains why so many dogs die in a year from heat stroke and dehydration at Cowles Mountain (between forty and fifty.) I think the owners are maybe just too wrapped up in themselves to care for a dog, even while the dog is totally dependent on their care.

It is very sad.
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Re: Hiking with a Dog in the Heat

Postby sdpacatc » Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:17 pm

I can't count how many times I see people hiking with their dogs at the worst time of the day. If I'm coming down Mt Woodson at 11am, the people I see going up have no business taking their dogs with them, most of the time they shouldn't even be on the trail at that time.

I've taken my own dogs up Iron Mountain a few times. The first time there where frozen puddles on the ground so I was not afraid of overheating, but even then you need to be aware of how your dog is acting, your dog may need to take a little breather under some bush's for a while, if you are taking them on the hike you just need to deal with the fact that they may slow you down.

As I go on harder and longer hikes I don't bring my dogs with me, not to mention that when I'm doing those hikes I'm trying to push my limits, not my dogs, some people don't get that. I ran into someone taking their dog on the El Cajon Mountain hike, a grueling 12-14 mile hike for most people let alone their dogs. http://www.ihikesandiego.com/el-cajon-mountain-hike/. The poor dog was having a real hard time coming down and keeping up with its owner.

Unfortunately I think there are to many self absorbed people out there that will just not get it, they are more concerned about what their dog can do for them, not what they can do for their dogs.
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Re: Hiking with a Dog in the Heat

Postby lkelly » Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:12 pm

I hike with my dogs but I also do not understand the hiking with high heat. We used to do long hikes, 20 miles, but as they have aged I have adjusted my goals. I think there arre so many people looking at it as a workout and with limited time drag the dogs along. Esp. places like Cowles and Iron Mtn. Personally I now like the rambling, taking my time to look around, take photos and lots of water breaks. Come on winter and those cooler temps.
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Re: Hiking with a Dog in the Heat

Postby Wildhorse » Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:37 am

Dogs and people were rescued in the heat yesterday on the Sam Merrill Trail on the way to Echo Mountain above Altadena. The news article included this grim statistic: half of overheated dogs die. Vets cannot save them. The story is here:

http://crowncitynews.com/news/11422/hig ... g-rescues/
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Re: Hiking with a Dog in the Heat

Postby cynthia23 » Mon Sep 28, 2015 1:52 pm

Good topic, Wildhorse. I've said it before on other threads, will say it again: dogs do not belong on trails. The end. No, I'm not a dog hater--I have four dogs, all rescued mutts. But I almost never take them hiking with me, and certainly never on the Coachella Valley's steep and narrow trails. Taking them out on such trails is dangerous for the dogs--overheating and rattlers--and dangerous for passerby. And I don't think dogs especially enjoy it, either. They would far rather run around a grassy shady dog park. My dogs look scared and nervous when I take them out on trails, probably because they are smelling all kinds of predators, and because the terrain is rocky and uncomfortable to tread. Even a friendly and well socialized dog, trapped on a narrow trail with a total stranger coming toward him and his owner, gets nervous and is tempted to bite. I can't even count the number of my literally and figuratively narrow escapes, nor the number of times their stupid owners brightly assured me (as the dog, with stiff tail and raised hackles, barked at me) "Oh don't worry! He's a sweetheart! He'd never bite you!" Really? There's hundreds of dog bite lawyers who know otherwise.

While I firmly believe dogs are intelligent and very sensitive to our moods, they aren't human beings. It's just amazing the number of folks who think their dogs are just little people in furry suits. It's worth remembering that humans are still wild--i.e. undomesticated--unlike dogs. It may well be that people have a far greater need to go on a wilderness hike than a dog does. Do everyone a favor and leave them at home.
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Re: Hiking with a Dog in the Heat

Postby Hikin_Jim » Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:21 pm

I need new glasses. At first glance, I thought this topic was "Hiking with a Dog in Heat," to which I thought to myself, "um, why not just have her stay home until it passes?" Obviously not on topic. :oops:

That is sad the abuse and neglect that dogs, like children, face at the hands of those who care for them. Which reminds me not to get to obsessed with the San Jacs (or any other mountains) and to spend more time with my daughter (or take her hiking).

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Re: Hiking with a Dog in the Heat

Postby cynthia23 » Wed Sep 30, 2015 2:21 pm

LOL HJ! !! Yes, I think a dog should be left home under those circumstances too! :D

I heartily (and sadly :( ) with you that it's easy to get wrapped up in hiking 'accomplishments' and discount the deep rewards offered by low key time spent with our family, friends, and animal companions. I"m trying to do better, myself.
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