One of the best parts of living in LA is all of the dog-friendly trails open year-round. As much as you can run and play, you also have to keep your dog safe on the trail. Keep these dog hiking safety tips in mind when you go and explore this summer.
5 Dog Hiking Safety Tips
1. Assess your dog’s physical fitness level before choosing a trail. For example, your pug probably won’t make it around Runyon Canyon on a hot, sunny day, but maybe would enjoy Red Rock Canyon on a weekday night as the sun is going down.
2. Bring enough water for yourself and your dog. Water is so important to maintaining your dog’s health and preventing heat exhaustion during the summer months.
3. Pack snacks for your dog on longer hikes. Snacks help people maintain their energy levels high during periods of extended exercise and that is true for dogs too. Bring a small bag of your dog’s regular dog food or healthy treats (like Zuke’s Jerky Naturals) with you on longer hikes.
4. Frequently check paws for cuts & blisters. Dogs’ paws can easily blister on hot rock or asphalt surfaces or get cut up on longer trails. So it’s important to keep an eye on your dog’s paws because it might be time to go home and rest. If your dog is suffering from blisters or cuts, clean the wound with soap and water, then apply an anti-bacterial ointment such as neosporin.
5. Watch for signs of fatigue or heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is dangerous. Symptoms include excessive panting, fatigue, sluggishness and unresponsiveness. If you notice that your dog is experiencing signs of heat exhaustion, immediately attempt to reduce your dog’s body temperature by dumping cold water on your dog’s body, make your dog drink water, shade your dog from the sun and if necessary, bring your dog to the nearest veterinarian.
You can prevent heat exhaustion by starting your hike in the morning when temperatures are lower, taking frequent breaks in the shade, offering lots of water, pouring any excess water on top of your dog during the hike to keep his or her body temperature cool, and making sure your dog is not overexerting him or herself.
Post last updated May 16, 2019.