5 hiking hazards for pet parents to pay attention to this summer

Exploring Western North Carolina
Exploring Western North Carolina / George Rose/GettyImages

Now that it is summer time, going for a hike with your dog might be on the agenda. And while there are plenty of beautiful places to explore with your dog, including state parks and local wonders, it is important to pay attention to the potential hazards of heading out into nature with your dog.

While a hike can be a great way to explore an area, get in some exercise, and bond with your pet and friends, there are also some hidden and not so hidden dangers that we need to be aware of. Luckily for us, the experts at TrustedHousesitters want to help us when it comes to identifying those hiking hazards.

According to a press email we received, "Veterinarians are cautioning dog owners to be vigilant of potential hiking trail hazards that may threaten the safety and well-being of their pets during this popular outdoor season." And there are five main hazards that are actually quite common when heading out on hikes with your dog.

What are the five hiking hazards pet parents should be aware of this summer?

  • Poisonous Plants - There are any number of plants and flowers that are poisonous to our pets and it is important to pay attention to what your dog is sniffing and eating when out on a hike.
  • Ticks, Fleas, Slugs, Snails - Dr. Lily Richards, a veterinary surgeon who worked with TrustedHousesitters on their guide to hiking hazards, explains why these are all potential hazards to be aware of as pet parents. "These creatures can carry parasites and infectious diseases, such as lungworm, that can cause serious disease in your pets."
  • Leafy Litter - Snakes hide in leaves and are more active during the summer months. Snakes can bite your dog, causing health issues if they are poisonous.
  • Still Water - While hydration is important and your dog will look for water in nature, still water can be extremely harmful to their health. Still water is a breeding ground for any number of potential diseases including, "blue-green algae, leptospirosis, schistosomiasis, giardia, cryptosporidium, E. coli, and liver fluke."
  • Mud - Mud may seem innocent enough, but in reality it can be filled with parasites and bacteria that get your dog sick. It can also hide such things are sharp rocks that end up hurting your pup as they play.

In a lot of ways, it is the most innocent things that can be the most harmful to our dogs. And while we love a good hike and we especially love being able to do this with our pup, it is also important for us to be vigilant when heading out for a hike so that we are not setting them up to get sick or injured.

We highly recommend checking out a trail before taking your dog on a hike. And if at all possible, find out what others have said about the trail or park, especially those people who have also taken their dog our with them for a hike.

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