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  • Writer's pictureColleen O'Brien, DVM, CVA

6 Precautions for Safe Outdoor Adventures with Your Pet

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

Getting outside, whether it’s for a walk, hike, or camping, is a great way to get some exercise and bond with your pet. Here are some precautions you should take to make it as safe an experience as possible.

#1 Leash

  • Unless your pet has 110% perfect recall, they should not be off leash. That means if you call for them, they come back every time. It also means that they will not chase after deer and other wildlife. In addition, your pet should not approach other animals without explicit permission, even if they are friendly. If your pet cannot do all of these things off leash, then they need to be kept on a leash.

  • Retractable leashes. Just toss them in the garbage. They give your pet too much leeway, get wrapped around things, and you cannot pull your pet back in.

  • Its also important to make sure your leash is attached to something secure. A collar should be nice and snug, not loose like a necklace. Alternatively, a harness may provide even more security.

#2 Identification

  • Name Tag. Make sure your pet has a tag on them with your number. If they do get lost, that’s the first thing someone will look for.

  • Microchip. Microchips are great in case your pet’s tag comes off. However, make sure to register and keep your information up to date on your pet's microchip.

#3 First Aid

  • It’s a good idea to keep a small first aid kit for your pet just like you would your child. This includes an antihistamine (talk to your vet about dosage) and basic bandage supplies for a cut.

  • For larger dogs, consider investing in a harness in case your dog can't walk for some reason and you need to carry them out.

  • In case of an emergency, its always good to look up ahead of time where the local 24-hour emergency vet is in case your pet has a serious accident.

#4 Temperature

  • Remember your pet can’t sweat like we do, so be careful of heat stroke and take lots of breaks in the shade, or just don’t go out at all if it’s too hot.

  • Always have plenty of water and a way for your pet to drink it.

  • Just because your pet has a fur coat, doesn’t necessarily mean they are used to the cold. For short hair dogs or dogs not raised in a cold climate, consider a jacket for them.

#5 Endurance and Difficulty

  • Just like you don’t wake up one day and decide to run a marathon, your pet also needs to build up to distance. Increase mileage gradually so they won’t be sore.

  • Choose your terrain carefully. While your dog may be big, it may not be able to jump up (or more importantly down) from larger rocks. Or if your pet is small, they may have more difficulty navigating crossing creeks and rivers.

#6 Prevention

  • Make sure your pet's vaccines are up to date (especially lepto and lyme if going hiking).

  • Flea, tick, and heartworm prevention should be given regularly to help keep parasites from infecting your pet.

Going outside should be a positive experience for you and your pet. Have fun, be safe, and don’t forget to sniff the flowers.


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