Geocaching is one of the best activities you can do with your dog. We’ve covered it with several articles (here and here) but there is still more to say! Hunting down the next elusive cache can take you into some pretty deep terrority. Heading into the deeper wilderness can mean a deeper connection with nature but it can also mean more dangers. Here are a few of the ones that you need to make sure you’re ready for. Keep in mind though, that these are not specific to deep wilderness only. Some of the most urban areas can carry the same dangers.
Traps intended for wildlife can be deadly for your pet. Of course, most states (and Colorado is no different) have laws on where and when traps can be set the fact is not everyone follows those rules. Sometimes these distinctions can be unclear and hunters may inadvertently place traps outside the designated area.
The worst part is, many of these traps are baited in a way that not only interests wild animals but also your dog. Because hunters want an easy way to check up on their traps most traps are placed near a trailhead, road or another easy access point.
You can avoid this threat by first knowing where it is legal to trap and where it isn’t. Check out the hunting rules and regulations page for Colorado to find out more about what you should be looking for. From there make sure your dog is on a leash. We know this isn’t ideal for either you or your dog so if you do let your dog off leash make sure he stays somewhat close. You can spot the traps a lot easier than your dog can!
Other animals can be a threat to your dog and things can quickly get out of hand. Most people are aware of the obvious threat that bears, mountain lions (yes, Colorado has them) and coyotes present for your dog. But the greater threats are the ones that are harder to see. Colorado is home to a large population of porcupines. While an encounter with a porcupine is unlikely to be lethal it will result is a massive bill at your veterinarian and a whole lot of pain for your dog.
Poisonous snakes present another danger that can be lethal. Colorado is home a few poisonous snakes including the rattlesnake. The tough part can be deciding which snake actually bit your dog after you find the bite. Whenever your dog is bitten by a snake it is critical that you take them to a veterinarian immediately. Even if they appear to be acting normal. There is no reason to risk it.
The best way to avoid these encounter for your dog is again by keeping them on a leash. We know that isn’t fun. So we recommend putting a bear bell on your dog. This basically acts as a warning system for other animals. They will know your dog is coming and get out of the way! Remember, these wild animals don’t want to interact with your dog! They are simply feeling threatened so a bear bell prevents them from being startled.
When it comes to snakes, don’t let your dog dig under rocks, logs or other areas that a snake would enjoy hiding in.
The plague is something we often forget exists but it does indeed exist! While it has been almost 100 years since a qualified epidemic hit the US, the plague is still alive and well in the Western United States. Typical carriers are rats, mice, and squirrels. But the biggest carrier in Colorado is our friend the prairie dog. These little critters are everywhere!
Again, we think the bear bell or some system to alert other critters of your dog’s presence is the best way to keep your pup safe.
Let us know what you’ve run into out there in the world!