Happy Trails Are Here Again!

Spring has sprung!  The weather is warming up making way for hiking and other outdoor activities with our dogs.  While you're having so much fun it’s important to know the potential dangers lurking out there just waiting to unfold.

Almost every misadventure with a dog could have been prevented with a leash.  As fun as it is to watch your dog run back and forth along a hiking trail, it could be potentially dangerous not to mention against park rules or state law. 

Wildlife can be a serious danger.  A curious dog and a hungry coyote can cut your hike painfully short.  Remember Jessica Simpson’s sweet little dog, Daisy?  A coyote grabbed her and took off before anyone could stop it.  There are also many snakes in the wild, some quite lethal.  Dogs are often bitten as they try to investigate this unfamiliar creature.  Please never give your dog a toy snake to play with since he may not realize the difference should he come across a real one.

If you’re in the mountains, remember that a dog’s paws can’t grip like human hands.  A running dog can fall off a cliff, slide down a rocky hill or fall into a hole.  Every dog, whether on or off a leash, should wear a harness when hiking in mountainous terrain.  You never know when you may need to lift your best friend out of trouble.

If you’re near water, remember that not all dogs are strong swimmers, and even the strongest can be swept away or drown.  If you’re planning to be near a lake or river, fit your friend with a doggy life vest.  Not long ago we were at the lake and Kirby, being hot, jumped right off the dock before we could stop him.  He was ok but I gained a few more gray hairs in those heart stopping minutes.  Another dangerous predator are alligators which enjoy sunbathing near the edges of water.  They can grab an unsuspecting dog and pull him into the water before you can even say alligator.

If you really want to unleash your dog, know the lay of the land.  Keep you’re eyes on your dog and stay alert and focused on your surroundings at all times.  I would love to hear about your hiking adventures!  What precautions do you observe when out in the wild?  Have you experienced some close encounters?