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Happy Trails - Hiking with Your Dog

July 5, 2011 -

Summer is perfect for hiking and outdoor activities with our pets; however, it’s important to understand the potential dangers prior to taking that well deserved outing.
 
Almost every misadventure with a pet could have been prevented with a leash.  As fun as it may be to watch your dog run back and forth along a hiking trail, it could be potentially dangerous not to mention against park rules or state law.
 
Wildlife can also be a serious hazard for our pets.  An encounter between a curious canine and a foraging critter can cut your hike painfully short. Dogs can easily be bit on the nose as they instinctually try to investigate intriguing noises.  

If you’re in the mountains, remember that dog paws can’t grip like human hands can.  A running dog can fall off a cliff, slide down a rocky hill or step into a mineshaft.  Every dog, whether on or off a leash, should wear a harness when hiking. A harness can come in handy in the case you need to lift your best friend out of trouble.
 
If you’re near water, remember that not all dogs are strong swimmers, and even the strongest swimmer can get in to trouble in a rough or swift-moving lake or river.  Always plan to fit your friend with a doggy life vest.
 
Just remember that when your pet is unleashed make sure you know the lay of the land and that you can keep your eyes on your dog at all times. Staying alert and focused on your pet and its surroundings at all times could be the most important key to keeping your dog safe.
 
Tara DeMarco, Pet Parent of 2 French Mastiffs, an English Bulldog and 4 well behaved and beautiful parrots, has been a part of the PetSmart team for approximately 17 months.  Initially serving as a paralegal, she found her niche and passion in Pet Safety in January 2010.  As part of her commitment as the Pet Safety Manager, she has been dedicated to educating Pet Parents and fellow associates on the importance of pet safety and awareness.

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