Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hiking with your dog at the Oregon Coast: Go ahead, it's fun!

Oregon coast hiking trail
Yesterday's hike, near the Oregon coast.

I am an occasional hiker. I love the cool forest air, and the hidden surprises around every corner.

And when I go hiking, I take my dog.

People are often surprised when I say this. Since Liam is a pug, many people think he's not capable of enjoying a brisk hike. In fact, Liam loves a good hike. He scrambles around rocks, smells the pee of dogs that have come before and wags his tail happily as we go. There are a few precautions I take, however, to make sure the trip is safe for him.

Before we go, I make sure his collar is secure and his identification tags are still legible. It's easy for dogs to bolt when spooked, and I want to make sure he can come back to me if he's lost.

I also make sure his toenails are short, so he's unlikely to catch a toe in a tight crack.

I check the weather report, too. If the temperature is above 80 degrees, we don't go hiking that day. With his short snout, Liam can't tolerate hot temperatures and I don't want him to overheat on our hike.

I also make sure he's up-to-date on his flea and tick treatments, so the critters don't eat him alive.

In my pack, I bring along a water bowl and water bottle (like this: Alfie Pet by Petoga Couture - Set of 3 Ros Silicone Pet Expandable/Collapsible Travel Bowl - Size: 1.5 Cups). Liam gets dehydrated, and I am not certain the water we'll encounter is safe for him to drink.

I also bring along plenty of bags for picking up offerings. It drives me crazy to walk a trail lined with dog poop, and I won't contribute to the problem.

 I also bring Benadryl on our hikes. Liam has a minor allergic problem, and I want to be prepared.

As we hike, Liam stays on the leash. Period. Hikes are no places for off-leash dogs. They can bound into sensitive flowerbeds, frighten other hikers and run off. Leashes are simply a must.

When we're done hiking, I check him for ticks.

And then I snuggle him in the back of the car, where he snores happily all the way home.

For more information on the hike we took yesterday, click here. There's a spectacular bridge smack in the middle of this hike that's simply not to be missed.


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