Dog dies after being found ‘thrashing’ on Riverside County road in 116-degree heat, spurring warning to pet owners

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The Riverside County Department of Animal Services released this photo of the pug.

The Riverside County Department of Animal Services released this photo of the pug.

A small dog died after being found in distress on the side of a road in the Coachella Valley as blistering temperatures scorched the region this week, a grave incident that officials said underscores the risks to pets during extreme heat.

Two animal control officers — one of whom was on a training ride — rescued the 3-year-old pug on Avenue 70 near Windward Drive in Mecca about 3 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.

They pulled over to help after the new officer spotted the dog “thrashing about” on the side of the road, almost as if she had been hit by a car, a news release from the department stated.

A car did not strike her, but temperatures in the area were around 116 degrees at the time, officials said.

The two officers rushed the pup to the Coachella Valley Animal Campus, where her temperature was measured at 109.4 degrees — well above normal. A dog’s temperature typically registers between 100 to 102.5 degrees, according to the release.

Veterinarians tried to save the pug, giving her fluids and placing her on ice packs. But the dog’s condition did not improve and she had to be humanely euthanized.

It’s unclear who the pug belonged to, as she had no identification tags and had not been micro-chipped.

“This is a tragic but avoidable outcome,” Animal Service Director Julie Bank said in the release. “It is a grave reminder to be extra cautious with our pets when weather conditions become extreme.”

Flat-faced breeds such as pugs, bulldogs and Boston terriers are especially susceptible to hotter weather.

“These include pugs and bulldogs, boxers and Boston owners, and owners of these types of breeds should practice caution when we’re faced with heat warnings,” Riverside County Chief Veterinarian Dr. Sara Strongin said.

The Department of Animal Services reminds pet owners that they should make sure their furry friends have plenty of water and shade on warmer days. Owners should also avoid over-exercising pets and keep them in cool spaces inside the home as much as possible.

Additionally, animals should never be left unattended in a hot car, which is not only dangerous but also illegal in California and other states.

“On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time-even with the windows open-which could lead to fatal heat stroke,” Dr. Louise Murray, the vice president of the ASPCA Animal Hospital, explained on the Department of Animal Services website.

Pet owners should also be on the lookout for symptoms of overheating in pets.

Signs include difficulty breathing or excessive panting, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, seizures, bloody diarrhea, vomiting and even collapse.

More tips on how to keep your pets safe from the heat can found on the Animal Service’s website here.

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