Friday, June 4, 2010

Safety Tips for Hiking & Camping with Your Dog- Series PART 1 of 3

Imagine being left stranded in the wilderness jungle, on a deserted island, or in the bone chilling Arctic to fend with no food, shelter, water or tools for 7 days with nothing more than a Swiss Army Knife or box of matches. What would you do? Well, lucky for you & your dog, life doesn't have to be a spoof of an episode of the Discovery Channels suspenseful series Survivor Man (in your dog's case Survivor Doggy)

But it is important for you and your dog to always be prepared for anything. So we have decided to do a 3 part blog series on hiking with your adventurous pups. So, before you venture out on the fun filled trails & treacherous, yet exciting mountain tops. Here are some tips to keep you, your dog, and other hikers safe.

1. Health First:
Dogs are no different than people and just like you must be in shape before undertaking strenuous hike. If you're not sure about your dog's fitness level, start off small and then work up to longer hikes. But prior to the training & hiking make sure your dog gets the vet health seal of approval, especially older dogs. Make sure that all of your dog's vaccinations and medications are current, including rabies, bordatella, and heartworm. If you're hiking in an area with Lyme disease, ask your vet about vaccinations. Condition your dog and his or paws for physical activity on the trails. With its mountainous terrain, rocky patches & high elevation you both are going to need to develop some hiking stamina.

2. Bring Portable GPS system:
Because you can’t always rely on your dogs snout for direction. Maps & compasses are the original GPS system so you don't get lost. They can be your life saver if you & your dog happens to go off the beaten path, so learn how to use them. Especially, if your dog happens to run after a critter in the woods. If you do get lost don't panic just stop to get your bearings. If all as fails just stay on the trail, look for signs and guys don't be ashamed to ask for directions.

3. Follow the Golden Rules:
Check a head with campgrounds to make sure dogs are allowed and the rules. Always have your dog in plain sight and bring a leash. Some hiking trails & parks require your dogs on a leash at all times.

5. Bring Appropriate Gear:
Spring and summer hiking means pesky visits from biting bugs and insects. Be sure to include some insect repellent and UV protection for both you and your dog, because dogs can burn too. One great product for your four legged hiking buddy is Happytails Flea the Scene with sunscreen, works wonders! Also, bring doggy life jackets if swimming, medications for your dogs special needs, some healthy organic munchies for the hike to boost energy and lots of water. Don't forget to wear proper clothing for the weather in which you are hiking & camping. Regardless if the forecast says clear skies it may start raining cats & dogs and get chilly, so be ready.

6. " Its Lions, Tigers & Bears Oh, my":
Remember, that while you are making the woods your home for the week, their are animals that live here on a daily basis. So, beware of snakes, porcupines, raccoons, bears, mountain lions, and coyotes. If you start smelling a not so pleasant odor and a critter with a white streak don't just sit there run, it is not wanting to say hi. If you haven't guessed by the smell of it, you have a skunk. All this wildlife can be a problem with a pet on the loose and can cause serious injury. Besides, you and your dog wouldn't want to pack up your canteen & hiking gear early to spend week in a tomato bath, not my idea of day at the "spaw". So make sure your pet stays in close proximity to where you are hiking. One great tip is to bring along a toy which will help keep your dogs attention span on you & not on the wildlife.

So all you survivor dogs, go ahead have fun! Enjoy the crackling fire, roasting marshmallows and howling camp-fire songs with the family. Don't forget to stay tuned & subscribe to our blog for more tips in our 3 part hiking series. We look forward to sending you and your dog safely off on the trails & the great beyond. Your adventure awaits!!

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