Colorado is well known as a dog-friendly state. We have some of the best dog parks, dog cafes and dog everything in the nation! Coloradans love their pets! Which may be why we see so many geocaching enthusiasts that are looking for pet-friendly finds! Well, the good news is, that most hunts are pet-friendly and treasure hunting is one the best activities you and your dog can share. But here are three things you should keep in mind before taking your furry friend out on the hunt. This post was put together with consultation from my local veterinarian and friend Dr. E. Find out more about her clinic here.
Keep Those Puppy Paws Padded!
While dogs can typically handle any terrain for a period of time, sometimes the long term nature of geocaching in Colorado’s rocky and mountainous trails can start to take a toll on your pooch’s paws. That’s why Dr. E recommends canine booties to keep your four-legged friend hot on the treasure trail for as long as possible. These “puppies” (pun intended) are the real deal. Made with premium material and gore tex, just like with human hiking boots. Dr. E says that you have to watch out for two main issues- first is the possibility of sharp or jagged rocks and second is the continued wear and tear on your dogs feed. The products at Ruff Wear will handle both. While they certainly aren’t cheap at right around 40 dollars a pair it is still a lot cheaper than a visit to a veterinary clnic for a laceration repair!
Know Your Dogs Limits
Depending on the breed of dog you’re treasure hunting with you will be capable of different things. A heartier breed like a lab or shepherd can handle a lot tougher terrain (for the most part) but are also prone to hip issues, says Dr. E, and thus it may not be the best idea to go on long hikes with them. I took my little friend Chico with me and since he is chihuahua he can’t always hack it. While he does great at bouncing up and down rocks sometimes he gets a little worn out and needs some help. The good thing is that since he only weighs 8 pounds its quite easy to pick him up and carry him for a quick break. If your dog weighs 100 pounds that just isn’t an option.
That’s why our veterinairan friend and fellow geocacher, Dr. E, recommends you build up to longer hikes or take some trial runs at a large lap or other area where you can easily get back to safety. This way, you can begin to learn the limits of your dog and what they can or can’t handle. Obviously this super dog can handle quite a bit!
Bring Plenty of Food And Water- For You and Your Pet!
Dr. E points out that most people are chronically dehydrated and even worse most people don’t take enough water to account for the stress of a long hike. Don’t let your pet suffer for this too. It can be hard to know how much they need since…well…they can’t talk! But shouldn’t stop you from trying to figure it out. Generally, dogs need about 12-14 ounce of water per 10 pounds. In colder drier environments (like the mountains!) it can be even higher. The same goes for food. Just like you, your dog is burning much more calories while out looking for that deeply hiidden cache and he needs to have an increase in calories to match!
Ruff Wear offers a series of foldable dog beds and bowls to make the process easier- even better they offer doggie backpacks so that Fido can carry his own food!
Doesn’t get better than that.
All in all, don’t forget that your dog is much like you and most the preparation you have to make (food, water, protection and knowing what you can handle) apply to your dog too!