Now that spring is officially upon us, countless pet owners are itching to bring their furry friends to their favorite hiking spots. Their drive for adventure is just one of the reasons why dogs are good pets. Even though it’s essential that dogs get plenty of exercise and time outside, hiking comes with a few dangers every pet owner should be aware of.

Here are some of the top dangers that you should watch for when you hit the trails with your faithful pup.

Sharp drops

It’s easy for your dog to trod out of your sightline when you’re hiking through the wilderness. After all, dogs love to sniff around and mark their territory when exploring a new area. Unfortunately, sharp drop-offs and steep inclines might make your pup lose their grip. Always be sure to keep an eye on your dog when venturing to a new location.

Ticks and bites

Exploring the outdoors is one of the best parts of owning a dog. But dogs love to nose their way through the underbrush and get into things they should normally avoid. Because of their low proximity to the ground and local fauna, this puts them at risk for coming into contact with many dangers. This includes ticks, ants, spiders, and more.

Ticks pose a particular threat to dogs. This is because these arachnids are small and hard to find beneath your dog’s fur. If a tick isn’t dealt with quickly, this can lead to serious health issues. In fact, you may not notice the symptoms of a tick-borne disease for seven to 21 days following the initial bite.

This is why it’s vital that you always wash and groom your dog following a hike. Be sure to run a flea comb through their fur and feel for any bumps, cuts, or bugs that might be on their skin. Even old dog skin problems could be a sign of something worse if you’ve been on a hike. If you fear your furry friend could have a tick embedded in their skin, don’t hesitate to visit your local Sykesville veterinary hospital.

Heat stroke

Dogs seem to have boundless energy, which is one of the reasons why dogs are good pets. However, they’re more susceptible to heat stroke than you think. Dogs “sweat” by panting so if you notice your pooch breathing heavier than normal, it’s time to find shade and water. Keep in mind your pet is covered in a thick layer of fur — this can make them heat up even faster beneath the hot sun.

Venomous snakes

Venomous snakes are a serious danger when you go hiking. These silent creatures are masters at staying undetected until they lash out and bite their prey. Because your furry friend is so close to the ground, this makes them a target for snake bites in the underbrush.

Keep an eye out for venomous snakes by looking for signs of their presence. For example, most venomous snakes will bite their prey and then retreat, waiting for their venom to paralyze or kill their victim. Then, they will return to reclaim their prize. If you happen to notice any small dead animals on your hike with no obvious signs of injury, it’s likely that a snake is nearby. You should also watch your dog’s behavior; if they suddenly bark at something you cannot see, it’s likely that they have identified a snake and should be pulled away. Your dog’s super sniffer is just one of the reasons why dogs are good pets. Protect your pet by keeping it leashed so you can make a quick getaway.

There are countless reasons why dogs are good pets but they need medical attention, just like the rest of us. If your dog has been injured on a recent hike, rely on the experience of Sykesville Veterinary Clinic for prompt medical attention.