If your dog is the outdoorsy athletic type, it’s a safe bet he’ll love hiking. The smells, sights, and sounds of a wilderness excursion will probably be the highlight of your dog’s week! Make sure your next hike doesn’t turn dangerous, though—follow these safety guidelines from a Fort Collins veterinary professional.
Before heading out into the forest, make sure your dog is properly identified with up-to-date ID tags, a microchip implanted under the skin, or both. You just never know what could happen, so if your dog gets lost or runs away, proper identification is your best chance of getting him back safely. Ask your vet about getting updated ID tags, and ask if microchipping is a good option for your pet.
Consider the various possibilities for infection while you’re out on the hike—stagnant water, rusty nails, and even rabid animals are just a few possible offenders! The best defense against these situations is keeping your dog’s regular vaccinations updated. Call your vet’s office to see what your dog already has and what he might need to stay safe outdoors.
Even if your dog is obedient to a fault and can walk by your side without a leash, it’s always a good idea to use one while outdoors in the event of emergencies. Even obedient dogs might bolt after a squirrel if the mood takes them. Plus, you may run into other hikers who won’t appreciate your dog saying hello.
Don’t let your dog drink from puddles or public bodies of water, since there’s no telling what kind of bacteria could be living there. Bring along a bottle of fresh water just for your dog, and let him have sips from it periodically throughout your hike.
When your hike is over and you’ve returned to the car or gotten back home, be sure to give your dog a thorough once-over. Feel the sides, back, legs, and head area to check for ticks, cuts and scrapes, or debris stuck in the coat. If your dog got especially dirty on the hike, you may want to give him a bath.
Follow these tips to make your next hike an exhilarating and safe event for your pooch, and ask your Fort Collins vet for even more helpful tips!