The summer heat has arrived and if you’re feeling the heat, so is your pup! Hiking with your dog is a fun year-round activity for most areas, but there are times when it’s not such a great idea to bring your pup along with you.
When it comes to hiking with your dogs this summer, you should keep in mind the following:
How hot is it outside?
What kind of terrain will you be hiking on?
Will there be shade along the trail?
Is water available on this hike? (River, stream, lake, beach, etc.)
What wildlife is in-season?
Do you know what to do if you or your dog has an emergency on the trail?
THE HEAT AND TERRAIN
Here in Arizona, the heat can be blistering at 115 degrees. This is not ideal for a hike with your dog. When the air is 115 degrees, you can expect the ground and pavement to be much hotter. According to Adoptapet.com, when it’s 77 degrees Fahrenheit outside you can expect the pavement to be as hot as 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Pretty crazy right?
Shade is necessary. If you are on a hike and have nowhere to sit but in the sun, your dog may overheat while you rest. There is only one way for your pup to cool down, releasing heat by panting. Water is great and a must-have, but your dog needs to be able to release heat through their body, too. Shade provides enough overhead cover to give your pup a breather from all the rays.
Water is key to keeping everyone alive. During waves of extreme heat or no shade, you and your pup can experience dehydration all at once, without any notice. Dehydration and heat exhaustion are the main reasons why people have to be rescued from trails during the summer. Packing enough water (at least 1 gallon per 10 miles per person) is ideal. You might think carrying all that water isn’t worth it, but you and your pup will go through that and more once you get back to the trailhead.
It’s summer and many mammals may head for the hills during this time of year to find some peace and quiet. Other creatures, snakes and reptiles, are now up and ready to see the world now that the sun has finally come out to play.
In warmer climates like Arizona, you can expect to see snakes and lizards almost every time you set foot on a trail. Be sure that you have your dog leashed when you hike during this time of year to avoid any deadly situations that could have been easily avoided otherwise. Prior to summer, you can and should take your dog to snake avoidance training at the very least. Planning ahead and teaching your dog what they can and cannot play with is vital to your safety on the trail!
FIRST AID TRAINING
Carrying a first aid kit that works for both you and your pup’s emergencies and injuries is imperative in the summer. (We love this one!) Anything from a snake bite to a nasty fall could occur. Writing your emergency contact information and other personal information about your dog is also a great idea! Keep that information in your first aid kit so you can tell someone where to find it if necessary.
Taking a first aid class for humans and for puppers can be helpful. You never know when something can go awry on the trail! Local outdoor stores offer classes year round or you can sign up for an online class with Red Cross to up your first aid skills.
If you’ve answered all of these questions and feel like your dog is safe to still take on a hike, be sure to pack enough water and keep a leash handy as you hit the dusty trail. Having fun in the sun is a daydream we all have during the winter, but it’s never worth putting your precious pup at risk.
If you decide to hit the trail with your pupper friend, be considerate of others, stay close to your dog, and as always, keep it wild.