With the warmer temperatures and humidity, hit the cooler mountain trails with your four-legged best friend! Taking your dog hiking can be a fun and exciting way to keep them fit and happy.


Dog hiking trails should be easy to find! Before you head out, be sure your dog is physically able to do the hike and make sure it is dog-friendly. Puppies and adolescent dogs who are still growing along with older dogs with arthritis, joint issues or breathing issues should not participate in strenuous hiking. If something would happen, you may be miles from emergency veterinarian care to help your dog. 


Before you lace up, keep reading to learn about K9 overheating and unsavory water sources to ensure both you and your dog come back home safe and sound with the important tips below. 


Set the Pace and Take Plenty of Breaks

Excited canines will often push themselves to the point of collapse. So, keep them leashed to maintain control and constantly monitor them for signs of trouble. Set a comfortable pace, especially if you are hiking at higher altitudes. 

Bring plenty of nutrient-dense snacks for both you and your dog along with plenty of fresh water. Take regular breaks to help your dog conserve his energy (and your own) and prevent dehydration, injuries or becoming overheated.


Heat Exhaustion / Heat Stress

Your canine can still overheat even in cooler mountain temperatures. Always be on the outlook for symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stress, including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hot Skin
  • Twitching muscles
  • Rapid panting
  • Lots of drooling
  • Reddening skin inside the ears


Overheating: Dogs at Risk

Some dogs are more susceptible to overheating including senior dogs and those with:

  • Short noses (known as brachycephalic breeds) including: 
  • English/French Bulldogs 
  • Boston Terriers 
  • Boxers
  • Saint Bernards
  • Heart disease
  • Excess weight
  • Breathing issues


Beware the Elevation!

Did you know that your canine can be affected by elevations above 8,000 feet? If your dog seems to be tiring, panting excessively, disinterested in food or even vomiting, these are signs they are affected by altitude sickness (hypoxia) and dehydration. 


Immediately stop to rest, offer them plenty of fresh water and slowly return to your starting point.  If your dog has breathing issues and is not used to hiking at high elevations, leave them at home for their safety. 


Avoid these 3 Natural Water Sources!

It can be tempting to rely on natural sources for water on your hike. But this may be an unwise and even dangerous decision, even for your dog because unforeseen dangers often lurk in what looks like fresh, clean water. 

For your dog’s ultimate safety, keep them leashed and never let them around – or into – the following sources of water. 

  • Water with dead fish, human trash and animal waste

This tempting smorgasbord can poison your dog with invisible toxins and poisons from decomposition. 

  • Stagnant water

A breeding ground for viruses, fungi, mold and harmful bacteria known to cause dangerous giardia and leptospirosis.

  • Water with toxic blue-green algae

Not all blue-green algae are harmful, but you cannot tell by just looking at it. 

Blue-green algae typically look like:

  • Scum
  • Green flakes
  • Greenish bundles
  • Pea soup
  • Brown dots or 
  • Foam on the edges of ponds and lakes (from the blooms of the bacteria).

Never let your dog drink, swim or wade in algae-contaminated water!

  • Drinking the water can be fatal to your dog in just 15-60 minutes.
  • Even swimming or wading can create long-term health issues for your dog.

Planning on Hiking, but Need to Leave Fido at Home?

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Check out our Pet Care Services for your beloved pet and then reach out to us via email or by calling 530-219-3656 today.