San Diego

Dog Collapses From Heat Stroke on Three Sisters Falls Trail, Serves as Warning for Pet Owners

About a half-mile into the Three Sisters Falls hiking trail, the dog named Joey collapsed and started panting heavily. The SDHS said it was a sign of heatstroke.

Emergency crews rescued a dog over the weekend who suffered heat exhaustion while on the Three Sisters Falls hiking trail, the San Diego Humane Society said Tuesday while urging pet safety on hot summer days. 

The San Diego Humane Society's (SDHS) Emergency Response Team was called on Saturday to a report of a dog in distress on the popular hiking trail in the Descanso area. 

About a half-mile into the trail, the dog named Joey collapsed and started panting heavily. The SDHS said it was a sign of heatstroke. 

Rescue crews were able to get Joey off the trail and to an animal urgent care in Escondido, where he was treated for heat exhaustion and separating pads. Joey recovered and was able to return home with his owner, Patrick McCarroll.

McCarroll and the SDHS are now urging other pet owners to be aware of their animals' health in hot temperatures.

The SDHS said pets should never be heavily exercised in temperatures over 70 degrees. On Saturday, high temperatures in the East County mountain area were in the mid-80s, according to the National Weather Service. 

Because dogs are low to the ground, the SDHS says, they can absorb heat from both above and below. Their paws may also unable to handle the hot ground during heat waves. 

The SDHS urges pet owners to leave animals at home while exercising on hot days and to ensure pets have plenty of cool, clean water. More tips can be found on the SDHS website here

While no watches or warnings were in effect on Saturday and the temperatures were average for this time of year, a spokesperson for the NWS said a portion of the Three Sisters Falls hike goes through a canyon with no breeze, which can become a pocket of dangerous hot air. 

The conditions often lead the Three Sisters Falls trail to be shut down in periods of extreme heat. The trail's visitor area -- along with the Cedar Creek Falls visitor area -- was last shut down in early August. 

Another burst of extreme temperatures are expected on Wednesday, when an excessive heat warning will be in effect for Southern California deserts, including San Diego's Borrego Springs, the NWS said. 

High temperatures are expected to be in the mid-110s for the deserts, in the low-90s for the inland valleys and mountains, and in the mid- to high-80s along the coast. 

A heat warning is issued when dangerous heat is expected. Prolonged hot temperatures could lead to heat illness and, in some cases, heat stroke.

The NWS says during periods of high heat, people should never leave children or pets alone in hot vehicles; limit sun exposure by taking plenty of breaks when working outside, should stay hydrated and should check on others who may be affected by the heat. 

San Diego County provides dozens of "cool zones" where residents can get out of the sun and into an air-conditioned room. For a list of locations, visit here.

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