Safe Hiking with your dog

Safe Hiking with your dog

file0002056028802It’s always tempting to take your dogs on the trail, its fun for both pets and owner, and you both get plenty of exercise. Especially in our local area, dog owners in Portland, Oregon are known for hitting the trail for their four legged friends. Unfortunately, some outdoor enthusiasts will put their beloved pets in danger when not following a few precautions. Here are five safety factors to heed when heading out to the trails.

Check rules

It might seem odd to dog lovers, but many trails do not allow dogs. If it is a new trail for you check the signs as soon as you arrive. Usually, they will indicate what is and is not allowed on the trail. For example, in most US national parks, you can’t share the trail with a dog, leashed or not.

Be sure of your dog’s behavior.

If you’re planning to take your dog on trails regularly, start out with some less popular trails and paths or choose an “off time” to go.  You want to be sure you can control your dog on a path where they may come across children, other dogs, and people. When an owner fails to control his or her dog, problems will arise. You will almost always need a leash – and it’s usually best to stick to a relatively short leash on a trail to increase the control you have of your dog.

Doggy First-Aid

A small first aid kit can help you assist your dog if they get injured on the trail. Doggy First Aid kits carry basic equipment to help stabilize an injured dog so you can get them to the care of your local veterinarian.  You can buy a doggy first aid kit from amazon on line, or from REI but always check with your veterinarian about what’s in your kit and proper use.


Don’t forget as you walk the trail, water bottle in hand, that your dog needs water too! Dogs live under a thick layer of fur, don’t have the ability to sweat, and suffer easily in the heat.   However, it’s best not to allow him/her to drink out of any lakes or rivers. This water may contain parasites, bacteria, and  other pathogens. When walking, stop every 15-30 minutes and offer your dog a drink of clean water.


When running off the trail, your dog can pick up pathogens  from  the trail, the water or from wild animals. For this reason, an owner should give their dog the latest vaccinations. In fact, at Murrayhill Veterinary Hospital, Beaverton’s AAHA accredited Veterinary Hospital, our doctors ask whether it is likely you will be heading out on the trail with your pet and adjust our vaccination protocol accordingly.

That’s it – our hiking and trail setting safety tips for you and your dog.  Happy hiking this summer.

This article has been written by Laird Godman, owner of Murrayhill Veterinary Hospital, a top tier, AAHA accredited Beaverton Pet Hospital.

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