Dog Dies on Popular Utah Trail After Suffering Heatstroke

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A heartbreaking incident occurred during a hike on the well-loved Grandeur Peak Trail in Millcreek Canyon, Salt Lake County. On Tuesday afternoon, Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue received a distress call about a dehydrated hiker and their faithful canine companion. Tragically, the beloved lab dog succumbed to the intense heat, raising awareness about the risks of hiking with pets during scorching summer temperatures.

A Heartbreaking Hike Turned Tragic:

The rescue agency rushed to the scene after receiving the report of the dehydrated hiker and their struggling dog. According to the hiker, the lab could accompany them from the summit. However, as the heat intensified, the dog could not continue and sought shade. Regrettably, the dog passed away later while the hiker went to the trailhead to report the heartbreaking incident.

Unprecedented Heat and Lack of Water:

As temperatures soared to a staggering 97 degrees in Salt Lake Valley on that fateful day, the hike became an unforeseen ordeal for the hiker and their beloved canine companion. The agency’s report mentioned that the hiker had no water during the walk, leaving both vulnerable to the oppressive heat. The incident underscores the importance of adequately preparing before outdoor adventures, especially during extreme weather conditions.

The Heroic Efforts of Search and Rescue:

The search and rescue team faced significant challenges during their mission, but their determination to locate the dog’s remains and provide closure for the hiker was unwavering. Their ability to extract GPS coordinates from a photo taken by the hiker before their descent exemplifies the invaluable role of technology in modern-day rescue operations. Despite the tragic outcome, the dedication and professionalism of the rescue team deserve commendation.

Heat-Related Risks for Pets during Summer:

While summer is a time for outdoor activities and bonding with our pets, it also brings potential heat-related hazards. The Red Cross of Utah and the American Veterinary Medicine Association have advised pet owners to be vigilant about the warning signs of heat-related illnesses in pets, especially during early July when hot temperatures returned to the state. As responsible pet owners, it is essential to understand how heat can impact our furry friends and take necessary precautions.

Recognizing the Warning Signs:

Just like humans, pets can suffer from heat-related illnesses, and it is essential to be aware of the warning signs to prevent tragedy. Some indicators of overheating in pets include frantic panting, excessive saliva production, bright red gums, tongue, or whites of the eyes, difficulty breathing, lethargy, or an inability to get up. Pet owners must stay vigilant and act promptly if they notice these symptoms during outdoor activities.

Tips for Safer Summer Hiking with Pets:

In light of this tragic incident, experts offer valuable advice for pet owners who plan to go on hikes during scorching summer days:

  1. Opt for Early Morning or Evening Hikes: To avoid the day’s peak heat, schedule hikes during the cooler hours of early morning or evening. This ensures a more comfortable experience for both you and your furry companion.
  2. Access to Shade and Water: Ensure your pets have shade and water during the hike. Carry enough water for both you and your furry companion to stay hydrated throughout the journey. Additionally, take breaks in shaded areas to allow your pet to cool down.
  3. Walk on Grass: Encourage your pet to walk on grass whenever possible, as hot surfaces can burn paws. Avoid walking on scorching pavement or rocky terrain that may retain heat.
  4. Be Mindful of Intensity: Use your perception of the heat as a guide. If it feels too hot for you to engage in strenuous activity, it’s even more intense for your pets. Be cautious and gauge their comfort levels during the hike.


The tragic loss of a beloved dog during a hike on the Grandeur Peak Trail is a solemn reminder of the potential dangers of summer hiking with pets in scorching temperatures. The incident highlights the significance of staying vigilant and prioritizing the well-being of our furry friends during outdoor adventures. As the summer heat continues, let us all remember the valuable advice from experts and take every precaution to keep ourselves and our pets safe during hikes. By being mindful of the risks and taking proactive measures, we can ensure that our outdoor experiences remain enjoyable and safe for all involved. Let us honor the memory of the precious lab that lost its life and strive to create a safer environment for our beloved pets during summer.