Many dog parents tend to overestimate their dog’s capabilities during the summer heat. They assume that if their dogs were fine in the past, then they will always be fine walking in the heat. However, even the most active dogs need to take it easy when the temperatures soar. Sadly, this is something that many dog parents fail to realize. Nikko the 125-pound Akita is one of the many victims of heat exhaustion during a long walk. He walked with his parent for hours, and despite having plenty of water, he still couldn’t take it anymore. Nikko’s story should be a cautionary tale to all humans hiking with their pups.
A Dangerous Summer Hike
Nikko’s situation happened not long after a 120-pound Lab named Leo experienced something similar. The Akita and his parent were hiking on the McAfee Knob Trail in Virginia. Nikko loves hiking, so his family wasn’t concerned about how he would react to the trip. After all, they had plenty of water with them.
They hiked for about 3 or 4 hours in the 90-degree heat. Nikko’s parent made sure the pup drank enough water throughout the trip, but Nikko soon grew tired. Suddenly, Nikko could no longer continue along the path. His panicked parent called 9-1-1 without hesitation. Then, the Roanoke County Fire & Rescue Department rushed to the scene.
The rescuers used an all-terrain vehicle to help them get up the path as far as they could. Then, they brought a Stokes Basket on a wheel to Nikko. Since the large pup was too heavy to carry to safety, they used the device to transport him down the mountain. Thanks to the equipment donated by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, they were able to rescue Nikko with only three people. Usually, it would take at least double that number.
A Cautionary Tale
Luckily, Nikko visited the vet right away and he checked out fine. He had some cuts on his feet, but he quickly overcame his heat exhaustion. He clearly loves hikes, but his family overestimated how long he could stay outside. They’re not the only ones to make this mistake though.
Dogs cannot cool down as efficiently as humans can since they pant instead of sweat. Therefore, they’re more prone to heat stroke than humans are. Akitas are one of the breeds that are most at risk because they have thick coats built for the winter. Dogs with flat faces are also at a high risk since they’re prone to breathing problems.
Therefore, even if you take your dog for long hikes often, make sure you’re extra cautious during hot summer days. All it takes is one unfortunate circumstance to put your dog in danger. So, it’s probably best to save those long adventures for days when the weather is cooler.