Summer is approaching FAST and temperatures are already hitting the 90’s here in beautiful Northern Nevada. Living in the Reno-Tahoe area, being an avid animal lover, pit bull owner and outdoor enthusiast prompted me to share my knowledge, and opinion, about how to hit the trails of the Sierra Nevada Mountains safely with pets.
Hiking during the summer can pose many dangers. At times it can even be life-threatening, to both you and your pet. This summer, I’ll touch on a many of these potential hiking dangers in my Pet Summer Hiking Series. My mission is to educate and inform pet owners, like you, before hitting the trails this summer and avoid costly mistakes.
On any summer hike, be sure to carry plenty of water for both you and your pooch. Dehydration is real, and it happens fast. Dogs don’t sweat like we do: they pant. The hotter they are, and the more they pant; the faster they become dehydrated. Be sure to pack a bowl, like Ruffwear’s Bivy Bowl, to provide fresh water along the trial.
My dog knows how to drink directly from a Camelbak, but not all dogs do. It’s not necessary to go out and buy the most expensive gear, but if you’re looking – Ruffwear’s SingleTrek Pack allows your dog to carry his or her own water and has been rated 5 stars!
Remember, temperatures on the ground can quickly heat up to over 160⁰F, scalding foot pads, causing serious burns, severe pain, blistering, and infection. Try to avoid peak heat times (12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.), but if it’s unavoidable; use protective footwear. Many types of booties are available from pet stores and/or online. My dogs wear Ultra Paws Rugged Dog Boots in the summer and winter, and we’ve been happy with them year after year.
Additionally, trail etiquette, though not the most dangerous factor when hiking, still is one of the most important; and knowing how to yield to pedestrians, equestrians and bicyclists is only one simple aspect. Not only is it important to yield the trail to equestrians, it is imperative to be alert for other dogs, as well. Owning an aggressive dog myself, created a new awareness for disobedient dogs and hikers approaching us on the trail. To help dog owners identify dogs that are NOT approachable, The Yellow Dog Project, was created. This global movement helps inform people that a “yellow dog” is one who needs space. If you approach a dog donning a yellow ribbon on his or her leash, take the time to give them space. Finally, be sure to keep your pet on a leash in areas where off-leash activity is prohibited, or your dog cannot be recalled or controlled by voice command.
Just following these few simple tips will help you avoid an altercation and possibly a very painful experience for your dog – not to mention a costly trip to your veterinarian.
Feel free to contact me, leave your own hiking adventure story, or just comment.