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Safety Tips for an Outdoor Trip with Your Dog

Maya Labrador Retriever Red Dog BackPack

by Dawn Ross, March 2015
What dog doesn't like to explore the great outdoors with you? So many new smells to experience, animal hidey-holes to investigate, and trails to explore! But before you take that outdoor trip with your dog, make sure you're ready so that your best friend has a safe trip.

  • Selecting a Destination - First things first, make sure you investigate the place you'd like to travel to:
  • Is it pet friendly? Believe it or not, some national parks, such as Yellowstone, do not allow pets in certain areas of the park.

  • Is there any hunting going on in the area you are visiting? If you still want to visit this area during hunting season, make sure your dog has a bright colored vest.

  • Can your dog safely traverse the hiking trails? Make sure your dog is in shape for the hiking trails and make sure the trails are not too difficult. Some trails require climbing and though your dog may be good at climbing up, he may not do so good at climbing down.

    Maya Labrador Retriever AllSafe Dog Car Harness

  • Travel Safety – Make sure your dog has a safe way to ride in the car. Have him wear a safe dog car harness, such as the AllSafe pet seat belt, or make sure he is secure in a pet travel cage, such as the Variocage.

  • Leash – Make sure your dog is leashed at all times or that he has a 100% recall. It is tempting to let your best friend explore freely, but there are many dangers to consider (indicated below).

  • Identification – Make sure your dog is wearing his id and vet tags and that his id tags are secured to the collar and that the collar is secure on your dog. Keep your dog's veterinary information handy as well.

    Pierson Aussie Mix Portable Water Bowl

  • Food and Water – Don't forget to bring plenty of water for your trip. And don't forget your pal's food and treats. Make sure you bring food and water with you on any hiking excursions as well. Your dog can carry his own stuff in a backpack for dogs, including a portable water dish.

  • Food Safety – Beware of discarded food or dead animals that your dog might get into. If your dog is going to be near a river or pond, look out for dead fish parts left behind by fishermen.

  • Water Safety – Stay away from fishing areas for fear of fishing line and hooks that might have been left behind in the water. For swimming or boating, make sure your dog has a life jacket for dogs. Even if your dog is a good swimmer, there are things like undercurrents to worry about as well as the danger of your dog swimming out too far from shore.

  • Wild Animals – Keeping your dog on a leash will help keep him safe from wild animals. If your dog is not familiar with some animals, he may be inclined to attack or chase animals such as porcupine, skunks, snakes, raccoons, wild pigs, coyotes, and so on.

  • Harmful Plants – Keeping your dog on a leash will help you keep your dog away from harmful plants, such as poison ivy.

  • Insects – Biting insects can be the worst when out in the wild. There may be fleas, ticks, chiggers, mosquitos, and more. Get a safe insect repellent for your dog. And if he uses Frontline or other such products, make sure he is current on his dosage. Bring some Benedryl with you for in case your dog has an allergic reaction to anything, whether a bee or a snake bite.

  • Fire Safety – For your doggy campers, make sure your dog stays away from the campfire, camping stove, or lantern. A wagging tail can inadvertently catch fire or knock down a burning lantern.

  • Don't Leave Your Dog Alone – Never leave your dog unattended at the campsite or even in your camping trailer. Being left alone at a campsite leaves your dog vulnerable to strangers and to wild animals. And while your camping trailer may have an air conditioner, sometimes those things go out. Without fresh air flow, a camping trailer can get very hot inside.

    Maya Labrador Retriever Pet First Aid Kit

  • Pet First Aid Kit – Despite how proactive you are for your dog's safety, accidents can still occur. Keep a pet first aid kit with you, especially on hiking trips. Make sure the kit includes Benedryl for in case your dog as an allergic reaction to something.

  • Pet Etiquette – If we want the places we visit to continue to be pet friendly, we need to make sure we practice pet etiquette. Always pick up your dog's poop and discard it appropriately. Don't let your dog approach strangers or other dogs unless the strangers seem welcome to it and if your dog behaves well around other people and other dogs.

Taking your dog hiking or camping is a great way for you and your pal to bond. It can be a lot of great fun too. So take that trip while practicing pet safety and you will enjoy many more outdoor adventures together.


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