Hiking with dogs in hot weather .
I don't mean to preach or lecture , but I feel this subject is very important fpr those hikers that hike with their dogs :
Sierra ( my 3 1/2 year Shepard mix ) have hiked together daily since she was 10 weeks old , We back pack several times a year . We average over 40 miles weekly on steep trails rain or shine and we have learned a few things about hiking in hot weather . The photo below was taken in San Diego Co. and speaks for itself .
I have witnessed many times dogs suffer heat exhaustion and stroke while hiking a hot trail .I have seen a dog die of same !
Cerro Alto mountain is in San Luis Obispo Co and in the summer , can get very hot .
I hope the following information is of some help :
- Fitness matters in both humans and dogs . The more fit you are , the cooler you will hike in warm weather .
- Dogs can not cool as easily as humans . They sweat thru their foot pads and thru their tongue .
- We don't hike when temperature is above 83 degrees in the shade , you can bet the sun will be at least 15 degrees hotter .
- Sierra carries a minimum of 34 ounces of water for a 6 mile adventure . Longer hikes . she carries 64 oz. Sierra weighs 80 lbs . on a 6 mile adventure she will,drink at least 32 + ounces and on longer trips it depends on the heat . I have seen her drink 90 ounces on a 4000 ft. elevation gain .
- On long hot hikes I carry up to 180 oz. and have used all , some of which was used to cool Sierra with baths .
- When we get caught in 100 degree weather , I cool Sierra with water baths done under frequent breaks under shady chaparral . I bathe her feet also , this helps !
- Not ---- hunting season is not yet over so when hiking in national forests have the dog wear a bright color vest or back pack . Sierra wears a back pack every day . Two years ago , Sierra was shot while hiking Cerro Alt in August . See photo below .
- be a responsible dog owner .
Note worthy is the fact that when Sierra was shot with a 30 cal bullet , she was wearing a green color back Pack and was approximately 10 feet ahead of me on the trail .
The bullet traveled approximately four tenths of a mile and struck her in the right shoulder and did not break the bone .