Every year, police dogs die from heat-related issues while serving their community. Among many other dangers to K-9s, heat is […]
Every year, police dogs die from heat-related issues while serving their community.
Among many other dangers to K-9s, heat is one of their top risks.
That’s why the Rapid City Police Department in South Dakota takes special measures to make sure their fellow officers stay cool.
No matter the conditions, police officers have to work, and that includes police dogs. That’s why once a week, the K-9 Unit trains in the conditions they have to work in, but might just shorten the time for the dog’s sake.
Senior Police Officer and K-9 Handler Sean Doyle says in order to make sure their dogs don’t overheat, there are specific signs to watch for, because he says these dogs are working dogs and don’t always know when to stop.
“Just energy level being low, really keep an eye out, you know, ears go down, tail goes down,” Doyle said. “It just looks like the dog’s not feeling well, that’s usually first sign of that heat exhaustion that’s starting to kick in. Heat stroke is major for these dogs.”
That’s why the K-9 Unit’s vehicle is equipped with some special technology. Doyle says because the heat of the day can raise the temperature of the vehicle extremely fast, they have a system that monitors the engine and the temperature of the car.
“So, once it hits 90 degrees inside, the windows roll down, the back windows roll down and a fan kicks on,” Doyle explained. “That’s like the very first stage, just kind of get some of that heat out and if it’s not fixed within five minutes, then the second part kicks in, so that will be full on SOS, lights and sirens start going off on the car.”
The vehicle always stays running when the dog is inside and the dog has water that they can drink whenever they want.
“We train to make sure the dog is ultimately the one that’s safe,» Doyle said. «If I’m cold in the front, but the temperature is still not cool enough in the back, I’m going to get cold in the front, that’s all there is to it.”