Hiking Considerations

Hiking season is upon us.  As many of us are gearing up to hit the trails in earnest this summer we are looking forward to getting our canine companions out there too.  Here are some things to think about if you are considering bringing your pooch along on weekend warrior expeditions.

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Hiking in the Heat

A friend of mine recently set out  to hike Pikes Peak with his trusty companion, a nine year old Lab named Donald.  In his younger days  Donald would run circles around  the hikers as they huffed and gasped up the hills, but  recently although the enthusiasm remained, he seemed to be losing a step or two.  The hike started out as always,  with a wagging tail and  lots of bounding, but by Barr camp Donald was diving over to any pool of shade he could find and flopping down.  Eventually it became clear that this dog wasn’t walking anywhere anytime soon.  This poses a bit of a problem when you are many miles up the side of a mountain with a ninety pound dog who has lost his go power.  The episode ended with an unplanned overnight stay, a trip back down the mountain and back up again with a stretcher for the dog, and a lot of tired, cranky people.

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Hind End Paralysis

It had been five months since Mr. Smith had noticed that Shep, his trusty German Shepherd sidekick for the past 10 years, was starting to struggle to use his hind end when  getting up from resting and going up the stairs.  He had gotten some anti-inflammatory medication from his veterinarian , but in spite of faithfully taking his medication every day Shep seemed to be having more and more difficulty getting around.  Now he had a bit of a drunken sway to his hindquarters when he walked and he was dragging his feet enough that the tops of his toenails were wearing down.  Occasionally he would stand with his hind feet crossed, and when he stood still for any period of time his rear end would start sagging toward the ground.  In spite of  his impaired mobility Shep still seemed to have the same happy attitude and would stagger to the kitchen as rapidly and enthusiastically as he could when he heard the familiar crinkle of the dog treat bag.  There was nothing was slow about his front end when treats came his direction.

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Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia.  It’s a term that lots of people have heard, but not everyone knows what it means.  Unfortunately there are many owners of large breed dogs out there that have learned what hip dysplasia is the hard way.

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Holliday Meals

‘Tis the season to gather around the table with family and friends from all over and share feasts in celebration of the holidays.   This is also the time of year when the rules of good guest manners need to be dusted off and used .  I am the last person to try to tell anyone which one is the salad fork or how to butter your dinner roll, but I can offer some pet related advice.

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Housetraining a puppy 1

Imagine waking up one morning and suddenly finding that you had been transported to some other part of the world and plunked down into a new family with whom you will be expected to spend the rest of your days.  They seem nice enough and they are eager to befriend you, but you don’t understand a single word of their language and they don’t understand a word of yours.  Their culture is a little different from what you are used to, but for the most part you can figure out how to get along with everyone without too much difficulty.  Unfortunately nobody told you that in this culture it is considered horrifyingly insulting if foreigners do not turn in a counterclockwise circle at least once before sitting down to eat with the family.

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