WOW-what a winter we had here in Utah! Now that the snow is (almost!) gone, dog owners are getting back out into the desert and the high country with our dogs! There’s almost nothing more fun than spending an afternoon outside on one of our amazing dog friendly trails. Below are some important things to remember when hiking with dogs.Keeping paws in top shape
If your dog didn’t get out much over the winter their paws may be tender. Paw pad injuries are no fun for your hiking companion! It’s best to gradually take them out to toughen them up. Check their paws for any cuts or ripped pads after you take your dog hiking. You’ll know paws are sore after a hike or outdoor walk if your dog is licking at them and the dog might even walk gingerly. To help protect your dog’s paws from hot pavement and hot dirt or sand, we recommend Musher's Secret. While this was originally developed for sled dogs and winter conditions, it’s now considered a great year-round protection for paws that get used a lot! It’s a blend of organic, natural waxes that are refined and still “breathe” so it allows perspiration to pass through the skin in your dog’s toes. Dogs need to perspire through their paws to help cool themselves down.Hydration
In our hot, dry climate, it’s extremely important to make sure your dog is hydrated. Some of our hikes in the Salt Lake Valley don’t offer a ton of shade so hiking in the heat of the day can be tough on you as well as your furry friend. Going out in the early morning or in the evening is best and don’t forget drinking water for your dog. Signs of a dog dehydrating is a flattened tongue hanging out and heavy panting. If you see these indications, you want to immediately cool your dog down. Bring extra water especially if there is no water to be found on your hike. You can use something like the Springer Growler Dog Travel Bottle (44 oz) or the Springer Classic Dog Travel Bottle (22 oz). The top doubles as a bowl and you simply squeeze the water up into it from the bottle below. This system also naturally regulates the amount of water that goes into the top/bowl so you can regulate how much your dog drinks.
Another way to keep your dog cool on a day out in the sun is a cooling jacket or cooling bandana. We carry quality jackets by Ruffwear. Feel free to bring your dog in and see how they work.Sun protection
Skin cancer is on the rise in dogs. Utah has very intense sun and even though your dog has a coat, they can still get sunburned, on their nose or anywhere the hair or coat is thinner and you can see skin. Short haired dogs are at higher risk, too. My Dog Knows It! is an all natural, non-toxic, and water resistant product that is paraben free and can protect your dog from too much sun without SPF formulas that are harmful to dogs.Ticks
Ticks are a thing here in Utah and people are finding them increasingly on their dogs after hikes. Ticks can carry several diseases that are dangerous to dogs, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis, and several others. To protect your pet from ticks, we offer all natural products from Wondercide. This company uses all natural products and essential oils like peppermint and lemongrass to repel fleas and ticks. We stock the Flea and Tick Collar for longer term use (up to 4 months) and Wondercide Lemongrass Spray for use before hiking or time outside during tick season. We also carry Wondercide Peppermint Spray and Wondercide Cedarwood Spray in both 4oz and 16oz options. Just spray the solution on your dog, for face and ears spray on your hand and rub into those areas. No need to saturate, just separate fur by rubbing in the opposite direction of growth, spray, and massage in. The spray is also effective against mosquitos.Supplements
Just like humans, sometimes your dog may be stiff or have sore muscles or may have a stomach upset due to eating something they should not have. We have many supplements available to help your dog with stomach issues and joints as well as a variety of other matters. Please feel free to ask one of our associates for help when you’re in the store or call us with questions.Keep an Eye on Your Dog
With all the water sources running so high this year, it’s extra important to know where your dog is in relation to a creek or stream. They may be thirsty and run to the creek for some water or can go into the water looking to cool themselves and they can be swept downstream in a second. Be cautious around threatening areas for their safety as well as your own.Remember your trail etiquette!
Hiking with a dog means having control over your dog at all times on hiking trails, on or off leash. Make sure your dog doesn’t charge a dog that might be walking on a leash. Don’t let your dog run after and harass hoofed wildlife. Aside from it being illegal (see this helpful DWR article regarding dogs and wildlife), your dog could get harmed or even lost in their pursuit to chase. Moose have been known to kick dogs who antagonize them and the result may have a negative outcome, comprising you and your dog. Smaller wildlife, such as skunks, porcupines, and rattlesnakes pose their obvious problems, so make sure you can recall your dog quickly when necessary. Bringing a bag of treats in your pocket, such as A Better Treat Wild Caught Salmon or A Better Treat Beef Liver can be very helpful in getting your dog back to you before they focus their full attention solely on the wildlife you’ve encountered. Remember a dog can usually smell wildlife before you see it so be aware. And, last but not least, don't forget to pick up your dog poop!
To help you understand how to manage your dog with rattlesnakes, there is aversion training available through rattlesnakealert.com and always carry a small pet first aid kit including tweezers, antibiotic ointment, and bandages with you.
Enjoy your summer in our great outdoors and don’t forget the dog poop bags and the H2O.