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Taking the dog out: Dangers on the trail


Image courtesy of OnTheRoadWithRiley

There are many things to be cautious of when going for a hike but do you know which ones include your dog? From getting lost to getting bit make sure to enjoy it while being safe. Both you and your pet can have more fun this way.

DEHYDRATION: Always carry water for your dog. Try to walk in the morning or evening since it is cooler at that time and keep an eye out for signs that your dog is getting hot or tired. Also avoid hot sidewalks- your dog’s paws can easily become burned on hot surfaces like pavement, blacktops and sand. Read more about dehydration in dogs at (

BRUSHING YOUR DOG: Keeping your dog’s fur untangled and clean can help ward off summer skin problems besides keeping them cool. Check with your vet if you want to give your dog a haircut to help him cope with the heat. Make sure to keep his fur at least one inch long though. Brushing your dog not only helps with the heat but with burrs and ticks as well. Either of these can cause pain and irritation if not taken care of right away.

GETTING LOST: Training your dog to come when you call is always good if you let him off a leash. Make sure they have proper ID tags and that their collar is not bound to come off too easily (but don’t strangle them either!). The ID should have your dog’s name, your name and your phone number, as well as proof of rabies shots. Always carry a recent picture of your dog along with you just in case.

WILD ANIMALS: From snakes to coyotes learn about the kind of animals you may encounter in the area you are going to hike. Knowing how to respond upon seeing these animals can not only save you, but your pets life too. Coyotes, for example, are not really dangerous to humans but they have become less afraid of us and will go after dogs. Attacks of domestic dogs are on the rise, no matter what their size is. Especially in areas where coyotes tend to thrive, so keep your dog close and preferably on a leash if you go walking through one of them.

TRAIL REGULATIONS AND ETIQUETTE: Check on the dog regulations for the areas where you’ll be. Maintain control of your dog at all times, most maintained public trails require them to be on a leash. Be sure to keep him or her calm as other people and pooches pass by. Be aware of what situations will upset or aggravate your furry friend. If he or she is still getting used to other dogs, you might want to hold off on hiking for now.

HEALTH: Is your dog up to the trip? Check with your vet first and ease into the routine of hiking. If you want your pet to carry some of the load, start off by having him or her wear a pack around the house, then on short walks, then longer walks. Begin with light loads working up to no more than one third of your dog’s weight. Make sure they have extra food than what they would normally eat especially if it’s a really strenuous trip. Ensure your dog will be getting the right amount of calories for the estimated energy that will be expended.

CLOTHS: Depending on the weather dress your dog up or down accordingly. There are dog vests and boots for both warm and cold environments so make sure you have them if needed.

When properly prepared things tend to turn out better than if you need something but don’t have it. Remember to have fun though! The weather is perfect for a walk… why not start planning one right now?