Pet Talk – Ruffing It: Tips for Hiking Vancouver Island with Your Pup

by Jacqueline Nicoll, K & Co. Marketing – 

As spring approaches on beautiful Vancouver Island, many are gearing up for a hike with their four-legged companions. With your next adventure just around the corner, take note of some essential tips that can help you both have a blast out there on the trails.

First up, while heading out on a hike with your dog can account for some of the best times of your life, keeping them safe and happy can take some prep work, especially when it comes to their health. Before you lace up those boots, make sure your pup is feeling fit and healthy enough for the journey. You’ll not only want to gauge their physical health, but also consider whether or not your best friend is up to speed with some basic commands, such as sit, stay and come. It might sound a bit basic, but it’s a good idea to be prepared ahead of time so that random houdini acts will be less of a potential problem.

Another common issue on the trails is encountering marijuana, by way of another animal’s feces, or garbage left. If you suspect your pup got into some marijuana, keep an eye out for signs of trouble– they usually show up about 30 to 90 minutes later. Symptoms can vary, but mild ones include your dog acting lazy, stumbling around like they’re drunk, having big pupils, a slow heartbeat, and leaking pee. But if they’ve had too much, things can get serious with vomiting, confusion, seizures, or worse, death. So, when you’re out hiking together, watch out for any strange behaviour that might signal marjiuana poisoning. Next, despite there being many places where of- leash hiking can occur, it is best to keep your dog on a leash unless you’re in an area where they can run free and you are knowledgeable of the terrain. Using a strong harness instead of just a collar can give you better control and keep them comfy. Keep an eye out for critters like ant colonies, bears, or other dogs that might not be as friendly. Deaths have occurred before on tricky spots like steep cliffs or sharp drop offs, so even though you’re out enjoying the freedom of nature, staying aware is super important for the both of you.

Lastly, bringing along plenty of water for both you and your dog(s) is always a good idea. Don’t allow your dog to drink from stagnant bodies of water as they can be excellent breeding grounds for bacterial disease, such as leptospirosis. If you’re going on a longer hike, consider packing some collapsible bowls and don’t forget the snacks! Bring along some tasty treats to keep your dog’s energy up along the way. While you won’t want to feed them right before or during intense activity to avoid any tummy troubles, it’s still a good idea to bring some sustenance, especially if you’re really out to set records that day. Remember: whether you’re navigating winding paths or scaling steep slopes, hiking with your dog is not just about the destination, but the journey itself! Enjoy!

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