It's no secret... I love dogs (and all animals) and I love the outdoors! If you live in Colorado, chances are, you feel the same way. We are so lucky to live in a place that has countless beautiful parks and trails to keep us busy during the warm seasons (and the cold ones if you're brave enough!). What's better than sharing your outdoor adventures with your furry best friend? Here are some quick tips for a fun and safe hiking trip with your pup. These tips are great for everyone, so even if you don't live in Colorado, read on!
1. What to Bring:
-WATER! It's so important to keep both yourself and your pup hydrated. I carry a handy collapsible water dish on all of my hikes and photo shoots. It clips right to my camera bag or backpack. It's best to bring more water than you think you will need, just in case!
-Snacks. You need to refuel, and your pup does too! Brink some healthy treats that will help your doggo recharge. All natural handmade treats are best, like the ones you can find here at Bare Bones BARKtique.
-Doggy bags. As in, poo bags. It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it! Be responsible, help keep our trails clean!
-Current ID tags and a well fitting collar. Hopefully your pup is micro-chipped as well. If they're not, go do it now!
-Flea and tick collar. Fleas and ticks are no fun to deal with. It's best to avoid them in the first place with a special collar or any kind of pet friendly repellent.
-Leash (not retractable!). Make sure you keep your dog on a short leash. It's the best way to keep complete control and know exactly where your pup is at all times. Sometimes their noses can get the best of them and they can wander, get lost, or get into something that they shouldn't!
- First aid kit. Make sure your kit has everything you need for emergencies or injuries. Check with your vet to find out what kinds of medications and ointments are safe to use on your pet. Benedryl is a must! (ask your vet about proper dosages). I will never forget the time my puppers had an allergic reaction while we were up in the mountains. I'm not sure what bit him, but he broke out in terrible hives! I'm sure glad we had Benedryl to keep it under control until we could get him to the vet.
-Canine safe sunscreen. Pups can get sunburn too! The most common place is on top of the muzzle, especially on breeds with short hair.
-Brush or comb. Keep an eye out for foxtails or burs. It's best to avoid those plants all together, but if your pup happens to walk through them, you'll want to be able to brush them out of his fur right away.
-Booties. Not all dogs are fond of wearing things on their feet. (YouTube dogs with socks on if you need a good laugh!). Try it with your dog at home. If they can tolerate it, it's a great way to avoid cuts and scrapes on their paws.
Know your dog's physical capabilities and limitations. Don't push him too hard! Dogs can get overly tired and dehydrated, just like us! Did you know that Brachycephalic breeds (the ones with those cute short, squished-nosed faces) are more prone to heat exhaustion? Keep an eye out for lethargy, excessive panting, drooling, dry nose/gums, and reduced elasticity in the skin. These are all signs that your doggo has had enough and should see a vet right away! Is your pup less than one year old? Check with your vet to see what shots he needs before you can take him on his first adventure. Chances are if you come up on any water source, your pup is going to want a nice cool drink. Don't let them drink from stagnant pools of water, or any water that is near campsites or cattle. Those are more likely to be contaminated with dangerous bacteria. Colorado is full of beautiful wildflowers, but some of them can be dangerous to pets! Here's a short list of the most common ones, but please ask your vet or do some research for a more complete list! Pop these into google before you go so you know what to look for:
-Water Hemlock, Buttercup, Larkspur, Locoweed, Lupine, Poison Oak, Poison Ivy, and Foxtail.
Not sure where to go? Search for dog friendly trails online. Bring Fido is a great resource. Some of my favorite spots include Red Rocks, Chautauqua Park, Flatirons Vista Loop, and the Arvada Green Beltway trail.
I hope this helps you prepare for your next adventure. I would love to hear some of your favorite locations and tips in the comments. And I would love even MORE if you posted pictures of your furry friend on your adventures as well! Safe travels, everyone!