Colorado park rangers helping dogs exposed to dangerous heat

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Record-breaking heat can have a dangerous impact on visitors at our local trails — ones that can’t fend for themselves.

If it’s hotter than 80 degrees outside, Jefferson County Open Space rangers say it’s probably too hot to take dogs out on hikes.

Ranger Mary Ann Bonnell spoke with more than two dozen dog owners this Labor Day about the dangers of canine heat stress and heat strokes on the trails.

Bonnell explained that temperatures on the trails were around 30 degrees higher than what we were feeling in the air Monday.

“Your dog’s paw are in direct contact with ground that is 125 degrees, we’ve actually have seen dogs paws burned off.” Bonnell said. “We understand our dogs aren`t here to torture their dogs but they may not understand their dogs physiology is different than us.”

Dogs can’t sweat like humans can and often times, they won’t show symptoms of heat exhaustion and trauma until it is too late.

If your dog is panting, has thick saliva and starts to resist walking, Bonnell says those are signs you need to get in the shade and take action immediately.

“One of the best things you can do is take a bandana wet the ears armpits groins and paws,” she said.

Bonnell recommends that all dog owners carry extra water, a portable dog bowl and a bandana on hikes.

Jefferson county rangers will help assist with rescues and aid on the mountain. You can call their non-emergency number if you need help carrying your dog back to safety.

Nicole Fierro wrote this report

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