A Sierra six tips for prepping your pets for outdoor adventure | SierraSun.com

A Sierra six tips for prepping your pets for outdoor adventure

Dr. Gina Kang, DVM, MS
Special to the Sun

Living in the Truckee/Tahoe area, we are so lucky to have access to so many camping and backpacking options.

With that, we sure love to take our four-legged friend along for the ride. Here are some tips for getting your pets ready for an outdoor adventure:

1. Terrain type: If your pet will be on a trail for a long period time on rocky terrain, you may want to get booties for him or her. Always check your pet's feet after a long hike for any cuts on his or her pads. Licking feet constantly is a good indicator that something may be wrong.

2. Conditioning: Pets, as well as humans, have to be conditioned for longer hikes. If your pet has not been hiking for long periods of time, you will want to slowly increase the distance they run or hike over a few weeks.

3. Heat: Heatstroke can occur even when temperatures do not seem too hot. Dogs do not have sweat glands, and they regulate their heat only through panting. Larger, overweight dogs are at greater risk for heatstroke. Take your pet on trails that have running water and/or carry plenty of water for both you and your pet. Heat stroke can be a life threatening disorder, and signs include decreased energy, decreased appetite, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Contact your veterinarian if you see any of these signs.

4. Cold environments: If you will be camping in areas where temperatures dip below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, you should provide some kind of sleeping pad and shelter for your pet. Even though your pet has a full fur coat, he or she can still get cold sleeping on the ground.

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5. Food: If your pet is much more active in the summer, you may need to increase his or her calorie intake. Be sure not to overfeed! If you are backpacking, consider fitting your pet with a pet backpack so that he or she can carry his own food.

6. Location and parasite prevention: Your pet may need flea, tick, and heartworm preventative, especially if you travel outside the Tahoe area such as the Midwest or Southeast. Anecdotally, we are seeing ticks and fleas on dogs that have never left the Truckee area. Heartworm is also a common disease in the foothills areas such as Colfax, Grass Valley, and Nevada City.

Dr. Gina Kang, DVM, MS lives in Truckee and works at the Doctor's Office for Pets on 10939A Industrial Way #101, Truckee, CA 96161. She sees all pets including cats, dogs, reptiles, birds and small mammals. More information can be found at http://www.doctorsofficeforpets.com or at 530-587-5144.