Hiking With Pets

As spring approaches, it’s time to dust off those hiking boots and start looking for new trails to explore! You’ll probably be wanting to bring your dog (or cat!) along for the fun – so here is a quick refresher of things to pack so that you and your pets can have an enjoyable time!

What to Pack:

1) Collar/Leash with identification. We do recommend having your pet on a leash at all times – even the best trained dog will usually go bounding after Bambi if given the opportunity!
2) Water: You should at least 1 cup of water per pet per hour that you will be hiking. On hotter days – this should probably be doubled. Dogs and cats can get infections from drinking pond/river water that can be found on hikes so it is safest to pack your own.
3) Collapsible bowl –for delivering water.
4) Snacks – small kibble snacks every once in a while to keep their energy levels up.
5) Plastic bags for poop.
6) Emergency kit:

  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) – dogs can have allergic reactions just like us. A dose of Benadryl can help reduce swelling – though you should still bring your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible. The dose for Benadryl is 1mg for every pound of body weight of your dog. (example: 50pound dog = 50mg of Benadryl) Make sure that diphenhydramine is the only active ingredient and that there isn’t any xylitol added (sugar – free product, which is toxic to dogs.)
  • Tweezers – to pull out thorns etc.
  • Tape – adhesive medical tape to cover lacerations. Careful not wrap too tight – I like to be able to fit at least 2 fingers under the tape. This is basically a bandage to get you down the mountain – we still recommend going to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • Contact solution – to flush out foreign material trapped in your dog’s eyes.
  • Musher’s Wax – great for when you’re hiking on icy or snowy trails. The ice can freeze paws or cut them, so musher’s wax gives your dog another layer of protection.
  • Dog booties: to protect soft or lacerated paws.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide – for cleaning but also to make your dog vomit.

Things to Watch Out For on Hikes:

Snake Bites: We do have rattlesnakes in Colorado and they can be deadly for dogs. If your pet gets bitten, it is best to get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Always call ahead and make sure your veterinarian carries anti–venom.

Overheating: Signs of overheating could include labored breathing, slowing down, refusing to walk, and in some cases, collapse. In these cases – you can pour water over your pet to get them to cool down, but they need medical attention as soon as possible. On your way to the veterinarian, you should get cold air flowing over your pet by turning on the AC/ opening windows/ putting a fan on them.

Lacerations: Cuts and lacerations happen while out hiking. If it is deep and bleeding, you can clean gently with water, apply tape to add some pressure, and then hike back to the car. We recommend seeking medical attention on lacerations within 6 hours of them happening.

Mushrooms: Dogs can be a bit ridiculous and eat mushrooms while out hiking. If you see this happen, it’s best to get them to vomit before the mushroom toxins can take effect. You can give 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide for every 10 pounds that your dog weighs (though for the heavier dogs – I wouldn’t give more than 10 tsp.) If your dog is already looking dull or showing neurologic signs, do not try to get them to vomit and get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

These are tips to help you prepare for some of the hazards of hiking – but for the most part, just get out there with your four legged friends and have a great time!

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