What do you think are the biggest dangers we face when hiking with our dogs? Are they Mountain lions, alligators or snakes? The answers might surprise you. Mountain lions are extremely rare and reclusive. You can hike several lifetimes and never see one. Alligators can sprint for several distances but usually don’t chase prey on land. If you are in an area that is natural habitat for alligators, keep your dog on a leash and away from water. Dog leashes are one of the most important dog supplies you need to pack when hiking. Most snakes are not particularly aggressive animals. If you are in an area with rattlesnakes or other venomous snake, keep your dog on a leash to avoid confrontation. A general rule of these animals on the trail applies. Always give the animal escape route.
Perhaps one of the most dangerous animals in the woods for your trail dog is a porcupine. Porcupines are easy for a curious dog to catch. Deer are also a very common danger. Today, there are more deer in history destroying forests, nibbling gardens and strain disastrously onto roadways. More to the point for your dog, deer is nurturing deer ticks which carry Lyme disease. That’s why it’s important to ask your veterinarian to recommend an infected tick control product before you hit the trails. Even with protection it is still mandatory to perform a thorough tick hunt on your dog after any trail outing. And if you hike your dog off leash in an area known for deer, make sure your dog has a strong recall.
Wild animals aren’t the only danger on the hiking trail. Sparkling mountain ponds and streams can be vomiting. But worse yet leptospirosis can result in liver and kidney damage in dogs and also potential human infection. You can help protect your dog from these bugs by using water purification tablets and having your dog vaccinated against leptospirosis. Better yet, pack in clean water for you and your dog. Dress your dog a pet waterproof coat to keep him warm in cold weather.
Fox tail, a seemingly harmless plant, can cause big problems for your dog on the train and after. It can burrow under your dog’s skin, get in their ears and their noses. After any hike when you check your dog for any ticks, also check the plant material especially in between the toes. Boots are really nice because they help protect your dog’s paws from fox tails.
Some of our best hike involves tails where we have to make out way up and down mountains. Your dog looks like she’s having the time of her of her life jumping down around rocks and boulders faces. We sometimes think our dogs are indestructible athlete but that fact is that a bad landing plane fetch can damage ligament.