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Now that the smoke is beginning to clear in the valley, pet owners will want to be getting outside and hiking with their furry friends again, and living in the Okanagan provides us with some of the best places to do so!
Before you hit the trails, here are some things to consider:
Always do your research before heading out. Nothing is worse than arriving to a trail only to find out it's not dog-friendly!
Familiarize yourself with who else might be using the trail. Many trails around the Okanagan are shared with mountain bikers, trail runners, and equestrians.
Proper trail etiquette is something to keep in mind. It's always important to keep your dog on a leash if recall isn’t their strong suit. Your dog may be friendly, but remember that other people’s dogs may not be.
Allowing your dog to run free off-leash could get them into a dangerous situation with other dogs, or with wildlife.
It's also important to make sure your dog is wearing ID tags on the trail. In the unlikely event you and your dog become separated, tags with your current contact information can help reunite you and pup.
Always bring plenty of nutritious treats and fresh water, enough for both you and your dog. Many pet stores carry collapsible water bowls for dogs that can be clipped onto a strap or bag.
It’s highly discouraged to let your pup drink from stagnant or standing water. These water sources are a great place to pick up parasites and microorganisms such as giardia and cryptosporidium.
Even in the fall, dogs can still become overheated and exhausted if out hiking for too long. Be sure to give your dog plenty of opportunities to rest in the shade, and drink water.
If you notice excessive panting, drooling or thick saliva, bright red tongue or gums, pale gums, excessive thirst, glassy eyes, collapse or refusal to continue walking, seek veterinary attention immediately.
You can never be too prepared, and accidents or injuries are a real possibility out on the trial. Anything from a torn nail, a cut paw pad, an encounter with wildlife such as rattlesnakes, or potentially dangerous plants like poison ivy or the prickly pear cactus could occur while out hiking.
Carrying a small first aid kit with a few of the essentials will help you be prepared.
Things like tweezers, a small pair of scissors, bandaids, a roll of tensor bandage or vet wrap, gauze, along with a small bottle of rubbing alcohol are great choices and could make a big difference until you’re able to seek medical attention at your veterinarian.
Hiking in the fall also means there are ticks present. Be sure to check yourself and your dog for ticks after a hike, bring a tick removing tool, and ensure your dog has taken their tick prevention medication.
Planning ahead helps you and your dog have the best time out hiking in the Okanagan!
Let's all enjoy the remainder of hiking season!
Pets First with Fairfield Animal Hospital offers monthly tips and information for pet owners in the Okanagan so that we can all stay safe and have fun with our furry friends in this beautiful valley! Fairfield Animal Hospital offers high-quality, compassionate care for your feline and canine companions.