Anyone who’s lived in Northern Colorado for some time knows that hiking is a favorite pastime for many people. With Rocky Mountain National Park only a short drive away, and plenty of other trails nearby, it’s easy to find a quick and fun day hike for you and your family. You may even decide to take your dog with you on your trek! While hiking can be great exercise for both people and animals, it’s important to keep outdoor dangers in mind when you’re on the trail. At Loveland Veterinary Clinic, we can treat your dog should it be injured or become sick while on the hike.
1. Avoid Other Animals
If you’re an avid hiker, then you know to stay out of the way of wildlife when you come across it on your hike. Whether it’s a bear or a ground squirrel, it’s good to leave wild animals alone, but your dog may not share that sentiment. A dog’s natural instincts can kick in when they meet an animal on the trail, which is why it is good to keep your dog leashed at all times while hiking. They may want to chase a squirrel or a rabbit, or protect you from a bear or an elk, and both can lead to injuries for your pup. Keeping your dog leashed and avoiding other animals are the best ways to avoid problems.
2. Check the Weather
You may love to hike through snow, but your dog can’t wear boots or snowshoes like you can. Before you go for a hike, check the weather to see if there will be any rain or snow, or if any precipitation has fallen in the past few days. Wet and slippery trails can be hard enough for humans, but they can mean injured muscles and broken bones for dogs. If your dog steps in a hole or off the trail, you might be carrying them down to the trailhead and driving them to the vet, instead of enjoying a day in the mountains.
3. Bring Fresh Water
It’s important to pack plenty of fresh water for yourself while hiking, and the same is true for your dog. Animals can get dehydrated at higher elevations, just like humans can, and you don’t want your dog trying to drink from a stream due to the risk of giardia and other water-borne parasites. Packing a water dish and a few bottles of water for your dog will keep them safe and hydrated during the hike.
If you love to hike with your dog, then make sure you take the time to research which trails allow dogs, and which ones will be easy for your pooch to trek with you. If you have a large dog that you wouldn’t be able to carry down the mountain, then avoid trails where there are risks of injury to their feet and legs. You’ll also want to check for signs of wildlife, such as tracks or scat, so that you can avoid a dangerous encounter with a mountain lion or a bear.
Should your dog become injured while hiking, the team at Loveland Veterinary Clinic is here to help. We can treat illness that comes about from something your dog picked up on the trail, and we can provide medical and surgical treatment for any physical injury suffered while hiking. Above all, we want you to feel confident that your dog is in caring and capable hands, and that we’ll do whatever we can to make them better again.
Contact us today by using the form below, or stop by our clinic at 1403 Monroe Avenue in Loveland. Should you need emergency vet services following a hike, we can help you with that as well.