In this last and final post about preparing your dog for the great outdoors, we’ll continue the conversation about hiking essentials and discuss potential trail hazards.
Do you want the best for your dog’s health but lead a busy life with jam-packed days? At VetSet, we’ve set out to help remedy this! We’re an animal clinic here to care for your pet and offer the utmost convenience with our mobile vet clinic that can meet you at your place! Help prepare your dog for the trails and schedule a wellness checkup before your next adventure!
More Essentials Your Dog Will Need For The Trail
- Doggy lamp – Just like hikers have a headlamp to use after the sun goes down, it’s important for a dog to have light to alert other hikers and for your ability to keep tabs on them.
- Dog coat – If you have a breed that is sensitive to temperature swings and low temperatures, it’s in good practice to carry a dog coat in case the temperatures drop.
- Cool collar – If you’re hiking in extremely warm temperatures some dogs have a hard time regulating their temperatures, so a cooling collar will offer some relief. You can just soak the collar and wrap it around them or make a makeshift frozen one and weave the material into their already existing collar.
Learn About Trail Hazards
Not only can the heat be an issue, but the area may have animals and other creatures to be wary of, in addition to poisonous plant life. It’s important to educate yourself on these dangers and have a plan on what to do if you encounter a poisonous snake or skunk.
Your furry friend is just as vulnerable to dangers on the trail as any human, but what makes it even more dangerous for them, is they can’t recognize a threat nor communicate with you to tell you if anything is wrong. Be alert and aware of the following:
- Animals – If you run into wildlife such as porcupines or skunks, the best defense is creating a barrier with your leash or pack. Ticks are also a huge concern even when symptoms don’t manifest in dogs compared to humans, but it’s important to do a tick check after your excursion.
- Overestimating your dog – There is a fine line between overestimating your dog’s abilities and pushing them too far, and pushing them just enough. Monitor your dog’s heart rate and panting and watch to see if it normalizes during rest periods. If they have a hard time calming, you may want to consider shortening your hike or time more breaks. Limping and laying down are other signs that your dog is having a hard time coping with the hiking conditions.
- Heat stroke and heat exhaustion – The most common signs of heat stroke in dogs is excessive panting, collapsing, convulsions, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you suspect heat stroke, promptly move your dog to a shaded area and pour water on them to help them cool down, in addition to giving them water to drink. Let your dog rest, and when they’re able, head back out and call your vet clinic when you get back into town.
- Safety in the water – Before you hike, test your dog’s water skills. Can they swim, and for how long? If your dog has any issues with swimming and you’re going to a spot with a large body of water, pack a doggy life vest and a towel to dry them off afterward. Even if your dog is an amazing swimmer, letting them roam near a rushing river in whitewater territory is an easy way for your dog to get swept away.
- Plants – It’s always wise to educate yourself of the dangerous plants in your area, but a general rule is to stop the chewing before your dog has a chance to swallow it. Common plants such as poison oak, sumac, ivy, and nettles will all cause issues for both you and your dog. Burrs and thorns can be nuances on the trail, but foxtails are ones to watch for. They are barbed seed pods that can become embedded in fur, between toes, ears, eyes, the nasal cavity, and genitals. If you notice your dog has excessive head shaking, sneezing, or eye discharge there is a good chance your dog has foxtails. While it’s uncomfortable for your dog, it’s important to turn around because they can be fatal and work their way towards organs.
- Pathogens in the water – Dogs are vulnerable to water pathogens just as humans, so it’s imperative to keep your dog from questionable water sources, or if in the backcountry, treat your water for you and your dog.
While most dogs are ready and able to conquer peaks and take a dip in a cool and refreshing lake, sometimes as owners we assume they’ll be fine and subject them to dangerous situations unintentionally. With a little preparation in trail training, packing, and knowing the trail hazards you can protect your dog, all while having an amazing hiking experience.
Keeping you dog safe on the trail is done by packing trail essentials and learning about trail hazards, but at VetSet, it’s our job to ensure their safety before you head out and explore the great outdoors.
Make an appointment with us today for your dog’s wellness! Too busy? That’s perfect, we have a mobile vet clinic that can come to you!