Step number one: make sure your dog is properly identified. While you never expect your dog to run away or get lost, you simply never know what might happen. It’s best to be prepared by having your dog wear updated ID tags, a microchip, or both. This way, your dog stands a much better chance of being returned to you quickly and safely than if he isn’t wearing any identification at all.
Are your dog’s vaccinations up-to-date? Don’t forget about the various critters waiting to take a bite out of your pet outdoors, including ticks, fleas, and heartworms. Year-round preventative medications are the best way to avoid infestations or infections, so check with your vet if you aren’t sure about your pet’s meds. He or she can tell you what your pet needs to stay healthy.
Even if your dog is well-trained and doesn’t need to spend time on a leash constantly, it’s a good idea to have one with you. You simply never know when your dog might dart after a squirrel or drift towards the road. Plus, leashes are good for keeping your dog away from stagnant puddles, tangled underbrush, or other hikers and pets that don’t necessarily want your dog to say hello!
Bring plastic bags to pick up after your dog. It’s both rude and unsanitary to leave your pet’s droppings lying about for other passerby and pets to run into. In addition, it’s illegal in many public hiking areas! Check the area’s regulations to see about other requirements you and your dog will need to follow.
Bring at least two water bottles, one for you and one for your pooch, and let him sip from it regularly. Never let your pet drink public water from streams, lakes, rivers, ponds, or puddles, as you don’t know what sort of bacteria or chemicals could be in it.
These aren’t the only great hiking safety guidelines. Talk to your Dutchess County veterinarian to learn about more!
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