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Is it safe to take my dog hiking? #ASKHSSA

Yes, but be on guard!

Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the Tucson area. However, there are some safety precautions to consider. You wouldn’t go hiking in the hottest parts of the year without ample hydration. If you’re taking your dog with you, you’re going to need to bring more water. Simply sharing the amount of water you would take for just yourself won’t cut it.

You don’t hike barefoot; neither should your dog. It’s one thing if you’re going out for a casual stroll on a shady stretch of The Loop, but if you and your dog are headed out into the desert, your dog is going to really need some footwear. Jagged rocks, cactus spines, goat heads, stinging insects – even broken glass – are all environmental hazards that can be easily avoided by protecting your pooch’s paws.

Not all hiking trails are created equal. Always check before hitting the trail head that dogs are permitted in the area. Some trails prohibit dogs and all hiking trails that do allow dogs require the dog to be leashed at all times.

Also, familiarize yourself with the types of wildlife in the area. We offer rattlesnake avoidance training for dogs! You can learn about this vital program here.

Lastly, always keep your dog’s abilities in mind. DON’T take your Chihuahua hiking through miles of the Chiricahua National Monument in 120-degree heat. DO take your Saint Bernard to Summer Haven to enjoy the snow. It all depends on your specific dog!

Did you know? HSSA’s volunteers can participate in our FAST Program allows volunteers to give selected dogs time away from the shelter for activities like jogging, hiking, or even just relaxation and socialization. Learn more at hssaz.org/help/volunteer/