Went to a great presentation at the Paradise Valley REI the other night about hiking with your dog in the Arizona desert — I and several other interested dog people/hikers came to learn from the instructor, Chris, and swap stories about being out there with the dog.
All of us agreed that having your dog on the trail with you is one of the best things ever – It provides both of you with some exercise and bonding time and it is an excellent way to have some companionship without having to say too much.
Chris suggested that before you go it is a good idea to talk with your vet first to let them know your hiking goals. The vet can assess your dog’s fitness and give some any Fido-specific first-aid tips.
When hiking with the dog
He also suggested some other prep work to get you and the dog ready for a Big Outdoors Adventure:
- Need to have a leash: Non-retractable is preferred. Rein in your dog to prevent them from stumbling onto snakes. Also, some people have gotten their legs shredded when leashes got wrapped around their legs as their dogs lurched for something. It’s good to have a leash with less “give.’’
- Poop bags: All local trails require people to clean up after their dogs; dog poop carries several disease and viruses harmful to other dogs and people.
- Medications: You can carry several over-the-counter drugs with you in case of emergencies – talk with your vet to make sure these are right for your dog:
- Anti-histamines for allergic reactions or swelling. Benadryl is a favorite.
- Hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting
- Buffered aspiring for pain
- Extra bandana and cool towel: Place them on dog’s neck, armpits and ears to cool your baby down
- Tweezers, pliers, comb, Leatherman: Any of these can help do the trick when your dog dives into cholla.
- Water: Do you have enough for you and the dog? What about if you were stranded or had to carry the dog out? What about if you ran across another dog in trouble?
- Vet phone number: Do you have it as part of your contacts on your phone? And do you know where the nearest 24/7 emergency clinic is – just in case.
When getting ready for a hike, I always feel that I am prepping for the Apocalypse. But it’s simply preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. And usually, it is the best, when you are out there with your dog.