Before bringing your dog hiking, make sure that he knows basic doggy obedience commands. The most important ones are Sit, Stay, Come, Heel, and Lay Down. These are not just important for good doggy manners, they’re also crucial for safety reasons. For instance, the Come command can help you keep your dog from approaching a dangerous area or animal.
Be sure to clip your dog’s claws, so he can get better traction. In hot weather, use paw balm or wax to protect your pet’s feet.
Make sure that your pet is current on important vaccines, such as rabies, as well as his parasite control products. We recommend keeping copies of your dog’s paperwork with you at all times. (Tip: if you have a smartphone, take photos of them, so they’ll be in your gallery.)
Even if you’re only planning a short trip, bring plenty of water for both you and Fido. Look for collapsible plastic dishes: these are very compact and easy to carry. You should also bring food and treats, waste baggies, and a first-aid kit.
Heat is one of the most serious hazards on hikes. Watch your dog closely for symptoms of overheating. Heavy panting, drooling, lethargy, and trembling are a few warning signs. If you notice any of these red flags, immediately stop to give Fido some water, and take steps to cool him down. Then, contact your vet. (Tip: carry wet towels in a sealed plastic bag, so you can wrap your dog in them if needed.)
Not all dogs are suitable for vigorous hikes. Senior dogs, puppies, brachycephalic dogs, and dogs with mobility issues will likely be both happier and safer staying home and taking a nap. Ask your vet for specific recommendations. Even if your dog does get the green light, take time to build your pet’s endurance slowly, so he doesn’t get overexerted.
Do you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s health or care? Call us! As your Las Vegas, NV animal hospital, we are always happy to help.