Have you ever gone hiking with your dog? Your canine friend can make a great trail buddy. Some of our four-legged friends absolutely love exploring, and make wonderful hiking pals. Other pups would be happier –and safer– snoozing in their favorite sunbeam at home. In this article, your local Centennial Hills vet discusses some safety tips for hiking with your furry pal.
Know Your Dog’s Limits
Hiking can be quite strenuous. Make sure your four-legged trail mate is up to dealing with a hike, particularly when there are high temperatures and/or difficult terrain involved. Always be careful not to overexert your dog. If Fido is a couch potato, you may want to keep your excursions on the shorter side. Puppies, dogs that are nursing, senior pooches, and dogs with arthritis or hip dysplasia are not good candidates for hiking pals. Small dogs will also tire out more quickly, since they have to work harder to cover the same amount of ground.
Your dog’s behavior can become a critical safety issue on a hike. Every pooch should know the five basic commands, which are Sit, Stay, Heel, Lay Down, and Come. We strongly recommend making sure your canine pal has these mastered before bringing him on a hike. This can become critical because, for instance, if you spot a rattlesnake, you want to be able to keep Fido away from it.
Drinking water directly from streams can be dangerous, as water can carry parasites, bacteria, and chemicals. If possible, try to keep Fido from drinking out of streams and rivers, and definitely keep him away from standing water.
Most dogs won’t run off cliffs, but all of our furry buddies are capable of slipping, or becoming overexcited. Keep Fido leashed when approaching cliffs, and don’t let him get too close to the edge.
You’ll need to bring some basic supplies and safety equipment along for your canine pal. Make sure you have a leash; a brush to remove burrs; plastic bags for waste removal; water; a dish; and food and snacks. You should also have a mini first aid kit, and keep a full kit in your car.
Do you have any questions about your dog’s health, care, or behavior? Please contact us, your Centennial Hills vet clinic, whenever we can be of assistance! We are always happy to help!
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