how to protect your dog In The Backcountry
The backcountry and mountains can be a beautiful place to raise a dog. But while outdoor time is essential for a dog, it can also be very dangerous. There are a multitude of ways a dog can get injured in the backcountry/mountains, which is why we created The Airlift emergency canine carrying harness. Although The Airlift is great way to prepare for an emergency situation, the best way to plan is to try to avoid emergency situations in the first place. Find out the common pitfalls a dog can fall into and how owners can help prepare and protect their canines from these injuries.
USE A LEASH
Keep your dog on a leash. It may sound silly, but without a leash your dog could run off a cliff and be seriously hurt. For example, an injured English springer spaniel was rescued by hikers after the spaniel had fallen off a 100-foot cliff and rolled 200 feet. By the time the family rushed to find the dog after its initial fall, he was gone. A leash can also prevent your dog from wandering off into the bushes and nibbling on poisonous plants. Keep your eye on the dog at all times and don’t let them chew anything!
protect against wild animals
Last month, a snake turned a woman’s hike in the Superstition Mountains with her dog turned a nightmare. Her dog now needs her eye removed because of a rattlesnake bite. Snakes are scary, but there are preventative measures you can take to minimize risk. NPR’s #1 rule when hiking in snake territory is “to stay on the trail.” Other recommendations for dogs of all sizes include enrolling your dog in rattlesnake training classes and getting a rattlesnake vaccine.
Wild coyotes also pose a huge threat to dogs in the mountains. In February, singer LeAnn Rimes lost her dog after she was attacked by a coyote in front of her.
rethink the doggy door
Do not create any opportunities that will enable an intruder to enter or your beloved canine to wonder away. Setting up a door your dog can access (for when they want to play in the backyard, etc.) may sound like a good idea. However, it can leave your home and your pets open to intruders who can also use that door. According to an article reporting a spree of pet deaths by coyote in San Dimas, “the family says it regularly left a locked 5-inch gap in their sliding glass doors at the home so that their dogs could get to the backyard. They believe that gap is how the coyote got into the home.”
Locking your doors and eliminating a doggie-door can also prevent your dog from getting out and injuring themselves. In May, Peoria firefighters rescued an injured pet dog from the top of a mountain. The dog had escaped from his home five days earlier.
Be Careful Not To Over Exert Your Dog
Playing outdoors for hours, especially in the summer heat, can exert a dog and lead to dehydration or “limber tail.” Limber tail is caused by excessive exercise and can be extremely painful for a dog. Dogs need to stay hydrated! Be sure to pack extra water for your dog when hiking outside. A preventative tip is to check your dog’s nose. If the dog’s nose is dry, it is dehydrated.
Keep a close eye on your dog’s behavior and any aversions from their normal habits. Signs of overheating include excessive panting, glazed eyes and weakness or staggering. Listen to your dog. If they no longer seem interested in your adventure (ex. dog is sitting down and not moving), do not push them.
Dogs should have hiking shoes too
Last but not least, cover those precious paws! You wouldn’t hike a trail barefoot, so why should your dog? Getting your dog a good pair of booties (or two, they can easily slip off) is an important investment.