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Hopeful Henry: Hiking safely with your dog

Dear Henry,

I just got a new 1-year-old pup from a rescue. He is my first dog and I want to take him hiking, do you have any advice?

Thanks, Alan



Dear Alan,

Let’s talk about hiking with your dog. Whether you are planning a hike for the afternoon or the weekend, remember that dogs need a few supplies to make sure they stay happy and healthy when on an outdoor adventure.



The length of the hike will determine what you bring, so be sure to consider that. Here are a few things to bring on your hike:

Fresh water and a collapsible bowl

Food and treats

Current ID tags and a well-fitting collar

A sturdy leash for walking or securing your pet to a specific area

A proper car restraint, such as a kennel or seatbelt

A bed or blanket to lie on

Doggie bags for waste

Pad-protective booties for rocky/rough terrain, snow, ice, cacti or nettles

First aid kit

A towel to clean your dog

Snakebite kit, if appropriate for your area — there is a rattlesnake vaccination for dogs, check with your veterinarian

Dog sunscreen/hat

Doggie backpack for sharing the load — use only if your dog is used to doing this

For proper fitness and endurance, train your dog starting with small hikes. For those not used to the altitude, consider that there might be elevation changes on some trails. Be sure dogs are allowed on the trails you plan to hike and take note of the nearest emergency veterinary clinic in the area if you are not hiking in your hometown.

Stop frequently and offer your dog water throughout the hike. Don’t feed your dog a large meal before a hike — instead, feed them a portion of their meal and supplement treats throughout. Also, avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day and keep walks to a reasonable pace and distance. Watch for signs of overexertion, such as excessive panting, drooling, weakness or bright red gums. Also look out for hypothermia, frostnip, injury to paw pads, lameness and exhaustion.

Don’t forget to check with your veterinarian to make sure your dog is up to date on his or her vaccines, as well as flea and tick preventives (depending on the area you are hiking), and properly microchipped before you head out on a trip. You never know what your pet can pick up in the great outdoors — wild animals share many parasites and viruses, such as distemper, parvo, lepto, intestinal worms, fleas and ticks.

Once on the trail:

Keep your dog on a leash while hiking

Steer clear of poison ivy, oak and sumac (look for leaves of three)Stay away from critters such as snakes, porcupines, bears, mountain lions and coyotes

Allow time for frequent rest and water breaks, preferably in the shade

After the hike, check for fleas and ticks

If you can, hike where there is shade and some water along the way for cooling paw pads. Avoid areas that permit hunting. For smaller or older dogs, forgo an overly strenuous hike. For dogs with arthritis or medical conditions, consult your veterinarian.

With a little planning, hiking with your dog can be a rewarding experience for both of you. Along with providing exercise, you’ll be spending quality time together. Be sure to head out prepared.

Hoping this was helpful,

Hopeful Henry

Paddl’n for Paws is this Sunday, and there is still time to sign up and for the day paddle. Sign up online at http://www.laketahoehumanesociety.org (click on the “Event” tab) or give the Lake Tahoe Humane Society a call at (530) 542-2857 for more information.

There are only two weeks left to enter your fabulous Tahoe pet in this year’s Tahoe Pets Calendar and Playing Card contest. Enter online at http://www.laketahoehumanesociety.org or drop by the office. It’s a fun way to support Lake Tahoe Humane Society and help them help our local pets in need.

Submit questions or letters via email to askhenry@laketahoehumanesociety.org or by mail to P.O. Box PET South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158. Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LakeTahoeHumaneSocietySPCA and on Twitter @LtHumaneSociety. HopefulHenry can be added as a friend at http://www.facebook.com/Hopeful.Henry.


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