Soon we will have warmer weather and many of us will be spending more time enjoying the outdoors with our dogs. It is a good idea to be aware of potential hazards when we are enjoying the outdoors.
Make sure your dog is fit enough for the length and difficulty of the hike you choose to do.
Be familiar with the area you are camping or hiking in. Know where there may be steep drop offs/cliffs or where there is fast-moving water or roadways you may suddenly come upon.
Make sure that your dog is either leashed or trained to such a degree that he or she will always respond to your cues, so they do not harass wildlife or farm animals.
Many species of wildlife are more likely to feel threatened when they have offspring to raise and protect.
Protective raccoons can be dangerous to dogs. Coyotes are a bigger risk to small dogs than larger ones, but coyotes have been known to lure a larger dog into bush where other coyotes ambush the dog. A cornered black bear can easily kill a dog.
On hikes keep your dog close to avoid them disturbing wildlife who are more likely to feel threatened when they have offspring to raise and protect.
Farm animals are also more vigilant when they are raising their young and some can easily injure or kill a dog they feel poses a threat.
Carry fresh water with you for you and your dog. Diseases like leptospirosis are transferred through drinking from infected water sources like ponds. Prolonged exposure to water containing the virus increases the risk of transmission through swallowing, contact with mucous membranes or through an open sore. Dogs that walk-in areas frequented by wildlife are at increased risk of this disease.
Giardia is a parasite picked up from drinking from water sources where giardia may live (for example, untreated water from lakes, streams, or wells) or by swallowing water while swimming in lakes, rivers, springs, ponds, and streams
Check your dog for ticks after being in an area where there may be ticks and talk to your vet about tick and flea prevention. Lyme disease isspread through the bite of infected ticks especially in the spring and fall when ticks are seeking hosts so check your dog (and yourself) for ticks.
Take a first aid course for pets so that, if your dog has an accident despite your preparation to avoid hazards, you can assist your dog immediately and then get him or her to the vet. Pet first aid kits are available and fit easily in backpacks.
Make sure your dog is wearing identification, so if he goes missing, you are reunited as quickly as possible. Affordable tracking devices that work with cell phones are now easily available.
Enjoy the outdoors with your dog but be safe out there!