Safety Tips for Hitting the Trail with Your Pooch

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 12:00pm
huskie outside

As the crisp fall air settles in and bright orange and red leaves swirl down from the trees, what better time to hit the trail? But as you plan your fall wilderness hikes, don’t forget your canine friends! Here are some ASPCA expert tips to ensure your dog’s safety as you explore the great outdoors together.

  • Pack a leash. With so many nooks and crannies to explore on the trail, it’s best to opt for a non-extending leash to avoid potential tangles with branches and brambles.
  • Bring IDs, please! Always make sure that your current contact information, including your cell phone number, is attached to your dog’s collar or harness.
  • Check your records. You never know what you might encounter on a hike through the woods. Before you set out on your journey, make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date.
  • Give pests the boot. Tick prevention is essential when tromping through the great outdoors. Treat your pooch with PetArmor, a spot-on flea and tick treatment by FidoPharm, one of the ASPCA’s corporate partners.
  • Leave no trace. Scoop up after your dog when she goes to the bathroom as you would on a stroll through your neighborhood.
  • Stay hydrated—don’t forget to bring enough water for yourself and your dog. It’s best to avoid letting your dog drink from nature’s water fountains, as puddles, lakes and streams can be home to nasty parasites and toxins that could be harmful to your furry friends.

For more tips about keeping your pet safe in the wilderness, check out our expert hiking safety tips, and feel free to download our printable Hiking Safety Tips guide [PDF] to carry with you on the trail.

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Lorraine Schieve

When advising people to scoop up products of elimination, please avoid the term "goes to the bathroom". Elimination of waste is a physiologic function of every living entity, wherever its living space and whatever its anatomic design are. We can respect the miracle of physiology without using euphanisms. Thank you.


What's the difference if someone says: "goes to the bathroom", "eliminates" or "poops" ? If it gets the poing across without offending anyone- that's the objective ! Some people are uncomfortable and/or were brought up to use euphemisms. And while you're busy correcting everyone- learn how to spell ! It's : euphemism, not: euphanism.

Ashley Wilson

This picture of that beautiful husky is just awsome and it is amazing!I think that people need to keep their dogs on a leash at all times and keep the dogs hydrated!

joe newmeyer

I hunt, I believe that companion animals like dogs, cats, horses ect. deserve the best care available. It's like having children. you oh them a good life. There are a lot of hunters out there that would give a lot of money if they knew you were not trying to stop hunting. My springer spanials live to hunt. could you please clarify your position on wild animals that are legally aloud to be hunted. I would give money in a heart beat if you do not have the extreme views of the humane society of america.

Heather Butler

Please answer me this question? Where do you draw the line between what you consider to be a companion animal and a hunted one? The so called sport the you enjoy is a senseless barbaric act entirely and truly. At one point in our past humans hunted out of necessity. But times have changed and we have evolved, so should you.

bernadette przybyl

good tips for dogs

Brian, a disciple

I'm not sure why the comments changed from enjoying the beauty of nature with our best friend to hunting?
I agree that hunting can be useful. Especially in places where the natural predators have been killed off, which in itself was wrong.
But anyone that believes in 'sport/trophy hunting' is in the wrong. It's the truly exceptional that should be left alone and hunt as the wolf does, taking the smaller and older. That will bring the animals through natural selection to grow stronger, healthier, larger and to live longer. Hunting should always be done with the plan only of hunting legally when and where the law allows. And second hunt to consume all rather than just the 'best cuts'

But the only real reason hunting should've been mentioned in this article is to remind people to mark their pets with bright fluorescent and distinct colors like hunter orange, lime green, etc as a warning to hunters that our pets are not prey.


i love those kind of dogs i want one of those for christmaslol and his\her eyes look kewl i want those kind of eyes!!!!!!!!<3