K9 Safety Examined after Dog’s Heat Exhaustion Death

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As Stockton Police mourn the loss of their K9 Nitro who died Tuesday due to apparent heat exhaustion, the incident does bring into light just what the dogs go through on the job.

Sergeant Josh Dobson with the Sacramento Police Department and his K9 Ace spend every day together.

"This type of relationship we develop with these animals is something I never felt before," said Dobson.

Across the United States there are more than 20,000 working police dogs, and keeping them safe while spending countless hours in the back of a patrol car goes a lot further than providing the animals just a bowl of water.

"All the Police K9 units have some variation of a heat alert system," said Sergeant Dobson.

Known as "Hot-Dog" or "Hot-N-Pop" systems, they deliver an audible alarm if the inside of the car gets to hot. They also activate a door or window to open remotely to let the hot air out and allow the dog to evacuate.

Tragically, it's the same system that failed in Nitro's case.

One look inside a Police K9 unit though will tell you just how unique they are. Each unit has several air vents coming from the air conditioning unit. Cool air is pumped from the front of the car to the back. There is also the heating alarm system which monitors the exact temperature inside the car.

Dogs do tend to be tougher to keep cool compared to humans. With the exception of their paws, dogs lack sweat glands that humans have on their skin. The main way dogs cools themselves is by panting.

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