Park Rangers would like to remind park users that as temperatures climb, it is more important than ever to care for and monitor your four legged friends.
Dogs do not cool down as easily as humans and as such are likely to suffer heat exhaustion, burnt paw pads, and potentially fatal heat stroke. Additionally, the swift waters of Big Chico Creek are deceivingly fast and riddled with hazards that can trap dogs under water.
This summer season, Bidwell Park Rangers have responded to several dog fatalities related to water hazards and heat illness.
Officials said the best time to adventure with your dog in the park is the morning and evening hours before and after the heat of the day. If you do plan to visit the park with your dog in the heat, remember the following:
- Bring extra water specifically for your dog, don't just count on taking them to the creek for a drink.
- Take lots of breaks, stay in the shade as much as possible. Your dog will not tell you that he/she is tired and may not show immediate warning signs of heat exhaustion until it's too late.
- Be aware of hot surfaces. Touch the areas your dog is walking on, if it's too hot for your bare skin, it's too hot for your dog's paws.
- Keep dogs out of named swim areas. Although dogs are allowed in Big Chico Creek, all of the major swimming holes in Upper Park are off limits to dogs. Choose an area with a level access point from which your dog can comfortably enter and exit the water. Dogs must still be on a leash even when playing in the creek.
- Avoid the fast moving water. Even the strongest swimming dogs can succumb to the current and get stuck on/under rock(s). Choose an area where the water is calm. Dogs may be tempted to chase sticks and toys into swift water. Be cautious about where you're sending your dog when at play.
- Keep track of how long you're out in the heat. A shorter adventure is best in high temperatures.