Tips For Hiking with Your Dog

  • By Kathy McRoberts
  • 12 Oct, 2013

This is a great time of year to get out and enjoy the beautiful Fall scenery and weather. One way to do that is to take a hike with your dog, you'll both love it. When planning a hike, here are some tips to keep in mind.

1. Go prepared.   Be sure your pet is up to date on vaccinations and flea and tick medicine, and microchipped before you head out. Take note of the nearest emergency vet.

A few things to consider bringing include:

    • Fresh water and a collapsible bowl
    • Food and treats
    • Current ID tags and a well-fitting collar. If you’re staying at a campground, consider attaching a tag that states which campsite you’re at.
    • A sturdy leash for walking or securing your pet to a specific area
    • Doggie bags for waste
    • First aid kit. A few items to take include tweezers for pulling out ticks or thorns in paws; adhesive tape and a sock to wrap an injured paw in; a disposable razor for shaving fur around a wound, gauze pads, antiseptic and bandaging in case your pooch gets hurt.
    • Towel to clean your dog
    • Snake bite kit (if appropriate for your area)
    • Doggie backpack for sharing the load. Use only if your dog is used to doing this, and not on a dog under a year old.

2. Find a dog-friendly trail.   Be sure the trail you are planning to hike is dog-friendly. Some may not be. Check our   Hiking and Walking Trails   page or try   Animal Planet’s top dog-friendly trails   for help finding a dog-friendly trail. Make note of restrictions. If rules dictate your dog has to be leashed, then do so. If you aren’t sure of the regulations, call the ranger station, national park or state agency in charge of the trail you’re about to hike.

3. Know your dog's limits.   Hiking can be a wonderful preventative for any number of physical and behavioral canine disorders and running up trails and leaping through streams is great exercise for that one in every three dogs that is overweight. But just like us, a dog used to being a couch potato can't be expected to easily complete a five-mile loop trail. Have your dog checked by a veterinarian before significantly increasing his activity level.

If necessary, go for short walks and gradually increase distance and time to get you both ready for the trails. Keep in mind that there may be changes in elevation and terrain along the way.

It is important to stop frequently and offer your dog water throughout your hike. Don’t feed your dog a large meal before a hike; instead, feed a portion of his/her meal and supplement treats throughout the hike.

Avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day and keep walks to a reasonable pace and distance. Know your dog's tolerance for heat and exertion. Watch for signs of overexertion, such as excessive panting, drooling, weakness or bright red gums. Also look out for hypothermia, frost-nip, injury to paw pads, lameness and exhaustion. If your dog's body temperature reaches 109 degrees fahrenheit, it's susceptible to heat stroke. Look for your dog's tongue hanging from the side of their mouth and whether it's rounded at the end; this may be a sign they are overheated. Rapid or heavy panting is another important indicator. If this happens, place your dog in the shade immediately and wet the armpits and chest area.

Note that many dog owners wait until their dog is at least a year old before taking her on a strenuous hike to give the puppy’s growing muscles, bones and joints time to mature. Also, avoid strenuous hikes with small or old dogs.

4. While on the trail, keep your dog under your control at all times.   Most trails require your dog to be on leash. If you’re hiking a trail that allows dogs to be off leash, make sure your dog is always within distance of voice command. If he’s not trained well enough to return upon your calling, then it’s best to keep him on leash. Keep a very close eye on an unleashed dog to be sure he stays on the trail and away from dangerous areas such as cliffs, thorny weeds, etc.

Avoid poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac. Look for leaves of three, or do a quick internet search ahead of time to know what these plants look like. It is a good idea to teach your dog a good "Leave it" command ahead of time and use it when necessary during your hike.

5. Always be respectful of other people, dogs, horses, bicycllists and wildlife.   If excessive barking is a problem you might need to work with your dog before bringing him on the trail. Loud noises can spook small children, other dogs and horses. The last of which can be dangerous for all parties involved, including you and your pet.

Be aware that not all other dogs on the trail are social. Like people, pups’ personalities vary widely. Some love making new canine friends. Others are more wary. The person who’d be able to advice you best is the owner. Even if your dog is friendly, ask before approaching to make sure the encounter doesn’t escalate to aggression.

Always pick up after your dog. Bag it or bury it away from the trail and water sources.

After the hike be sure to check your pet for fleas, ticks, burs, wounds or cuts on paw pads, etc. A bath or hose down is a good idea, especially if they've been in water.

With a little planning and preparation, both you and your pet can enjoy the great outdoors together.

 

Sources: http://www.petfinder.com/dogs/living-with-your-dog/banfield-hiking-tips/ ; http://www.active.com/outdoors/articles/4-tips-for-hiking-with-your-dog ; http://news.discovery.com/adventure/activities/8-must-read-tips-for-hiking-with-your-dog.htm ; http://wilderness.org/blog/hiking-dogs-make-your-trip-easy-fido-and-environment


Originally Compiled by Kathy McRoberts, October, 2013

Cincinnati Dog Knowledge Center

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Healthy oral hygiene is important for our pet for multiple reasons. Clean teeth are not only cosmetically pleasing; they also promote good smelling breath and better long-term health.

If poor oral health causes an infection in our pet’s teeth or gums, it can spread to their kidneys. This is especially true in cats. Older cats often suffer from   kidney failure, which can be caused by an oral infection spreading to kidneys. Valvular   heart disease   can also be caused by poor dental hygiene. Bacteria from a pet’s mouth can travel to its heart valves, causing them to change shape and become leaky.

By Pets in Need 18 Sep, 2017
Many people are afraid of pet insurance because of the issues associated with human health care, but the systems are very different. In the human managed health care system insurance companies make agreements with networks and the insured person has little to no say. Because of the way human managed care works, insurance companies have a lot of control over which doctors humans can use, what services they can receive, and how much they have to pay. Conversely, in the pet insurance market, pet owners have more control because pet insurance is an individual contract between the pet owner and insurance company. Pet insurance companies can’t tell pet owners what network of veterinarians to use and decisions about the care of a pet remain entirely between the veterinarian and pet owner. All the pet insurance companies do is pay out their portion of care as detailed in the policy or contract.
By West Chester Pet Resort & Spa 20 Jun, 2017
Now that summer is just around the corner, family vacations are about to be in full swing. While traveling with your pet certainly has its benefits, there are things that you need to know before jet-setting with Fluffy in tow.

First and foremost, having your pet as your co-pilot completely alleviates the worry of who is going to care for them while you're away. This question is always an anxiety for pet owners. The option of traveling with them is especially beneficial if your pet has behavioral issues such as separation anxiety.

Crating your pet while driving to your destination is never a bad option. They're confined and safe, and you as the driver are less distracted. Just be sure to remove collars and leashes to prevent a strangling incident and keep the air flow on them.

If your pet has never been crated, you can find a great video here  by "Dog Guru" Cesar Milan on tome tips and tricks to crate training.

While the car is in motion, feeding your dog is one big "Don't!" If you are on an extended road trip and your pet needs a meal, the next time you stop, feed a small snack- preferably high in protein. And remember to never leave your furry friend in the car, especially during these warm months!

Now, traveling with your pet in an airplane is a much more complicated process as you will more than likely want to book a direct flight. Communicating with the airline prior to travel dates is absolutely imperative. Many airlines have strict regulations for canine and feline travel and their regulations may vary based on the airline and the destination.

However you decide to travel, always remember that if you are taking a not-so-pet-friendly vacation, we would love your pet to stay with us while you are away.  West Chester Pet Resort offers a variety of services to make your pets stay a fun- filled adventure. Call to book your pet’s adventure today!

-West Chester Pet Resort & Spa
http://www.wcpetresort.com/
513-898-9631
By Kathy McRoberts 03 Dec, 2014

Original article by Marybeth Bittel, Tails Magazine


When I was a young music student growing up in Chicago’s western suburbs, my family adopted an Airedale puppy we named Beethoven. I picked Beethoven out at the shelter because all the other puppies rushed forward to greet me, while he hid shyly in the corner. Most trainers agree that’s not necessarily the ideal benchmark for selecting a furry friend, but we got lucky. Beethoven matured into an outgoing, even-tempered, fun, and affectionate family member who sternly guarded our front yard one minute, and romped through our sprinkler the next.

But then came the Fourth of July. Fireworks went off at random intervals around the clock. We discovered that when it came to loud noises and ear-popping explosions, Beethoven was absolutely terrified.

At first we wondered how this could have happened. After all, we’d never left our beloved boy outside while pyrotechnics peppered the sky. He hadn’t been exposed to extreme noises as a puppy. In all likelihood, Beethoven’s fireworks aversion, like so many pet fears and phobias, was just one of those things that took hold when his sensitive hearing encountered a sudden trigger he could neither see nor anticipate.

So we did what numerous pet parents do when their cherished companion is struggling: we cuddled him, coddled him, and cooed comforting words of reassurance. We also sat, feeling helpless, watching him cower and hide as the problem held steady each year. In fact, through all the years of Beethoven’s life, he never overcame this disabling sense of distress, no matter how soothing or supportive we attempted to make his surrounding environment.

When my husband and I began working with abused rescue dogs, we noticed that most arrived with an array of deep-rooted anxieties acquired over time. One Bichon was terrified of rotary fans. A Shih Tzu mix became a jittery mess during thunderstorms. A sweet and docile Foxhound routinely hid from houseplants. These fears ran the gamut, but they had one thing in common: They were exceedingly real to the dog, and they had a great impacts on the entire family.

We began working with local animal behaviorists, and that’s when we learned an invaluable truth:  The way we, as caregivers, react to our pet’s anxieties can actually perpetuate the patterns.

Why would this be? As Abe Mashal, owner of Marine Corps Dog Training in St. Charles, explains, “Dogs form extremely solid bonds with their humans. That means most canines are highly attuned to any type of interaction with their human ‘pack’ members.” So when something a dog is doing  earns our attention—whether that attention takes the form of praise, pampering, or peevish irritation— the behavior is often unintentionally reinforced.

“Reinforcement,” a common term in the world of animal behavioral training, is really just another word for strengthening. In reality, a reinforcer can be anything that strengthens a behavior.

So for those of you thinking, “I never reinforce my dog’s non-stop barking! I scold her on the spot,” see if these examples sound familiar:

  • You hear your Husky howling, and immediately storm in to reprimand her. How is this reinforcement? To many dogs, having a beloved human present (even a beloved yet annoyed human) is better than feeling lonesome. Your dog begins to think her howling is prompting you to chime in.
  • Your Lab whines pitifully as you begin to leave the house, so you return to take him with you. Over time, your dog starts believing that his whining causes you to come back for him (Pavlov’s theory, anyone?).
  • Your Westie mix cowers and growls behind the sofa whenever company arrives, so you pick him up and coo “Ohhhh, you’re fine, what a gooooood boy….” Soon, your dog begins to equate hiding and trembling with oodles of TLC.

“Every interaction with your dog has the potential to teach and reinforce, merely because you’re paying attention,” explains Sara Swan, owner of Narnia Pet Behavior & Training in Plainfield. How can you tell if this is happening? Simply observe over time. Dogs continue to engage in behaviors that provide some sort of payoff. If you’re dealing with a fear or anxiety response that’s ongoing—such as Beethoven’s abhorrence of fireworks—some kind of inducement is likely contributing to the pattern. In Beethoven’s case, his reactions earned him almost round-the-clock nurturing.

Fortunately, we as dog parents can leverage these same dynamics when it comes to re-programming undesirable behaviors. Let’s say your 80-pound “lap dog” excitedly jumps on you whenever you come home from work. When you withhold the coveted attention—immediately going back out the door, or turning your back on him—many pups gradually begin to seek out a different behavior.

The same thing can work with a fear response. If your pet is terrified of your Swiffer mop, for example, try propping it against the family room couch and just leaving it there. Then, simply act like it’s no big deal and go about your daily routine, even if your pup exhibits an unsettled reaction. Very gradually, over time, as your furry friend begins to approach the mop with quiet but tentative curiosity, reward that calm behavior with brief praise or a small treat. Keep it up, and eventually your dog can learn that “mop = calm = good.”

Helping your dog manage his stress is one of the keys to having a happy and healthy pet. If your animal companion has specific challenges beyond what you’re comfortable handling, always reach out to a certified animal behaviorist who can help you develop targeted interventional techniques that will work on your pet’s unique needs. It will not only help with unwanted behaviors, but strengthen your bond, as well.

Safe, Drug Free Ways To Soothe Your Pet’s Stress

The Thundershirt. The ThunderShirt leverages the age-old principle of swaddling an infant to promote calming reassurance. Simply fasten this snug, stretchy shirt around your pet’s ribcage. During anxious episodes of panting or hyperventilation, it provides ongoing sensory feedback that suppresses this common panic response. ( Thundershirt.com )

Music or ASMR. As a musician, I can attest firsthand that deep, resonant tones often work wonders on a nervous pup. You can also try leveraging something called ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), which is promoted by many hypnotists and human sleep therapists. ASMR is a subjective, perceptual phenomenon characterized by a distinct calming or scalp- tingling sensation in response to quiet, seemingly mundane sound triggers. Certain pets appear especially receptive, and may even be lulled to sleep. To gauge effectiveness, try playing low, calming music or ASMR audio with your dog in the room. Use a meditation CD, or visit YouTube to access ASMR recordings by reputable “ASMRtists” such as The Waterwhispers.

Calming Sprays. Help create a relaxing environment for your pet by using a calming spray on their bedding or by plugging in a calming spray diffuser. Many cats and dogs experience reduced anxiety and stress after being exposed to these non- sedating sprays, which use soothing scents such as lemongrass, cinnamon, and lavender to encourage relaxation.



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