Hiking is an extremely popular activity in the Brevard area. The Dupont State Forest, Pisgah National Forest, and Gorges State Park are all here in our backyard and they offer up great trails and spectacular scenery.
If you hike on a regular basis, you probably already know the basics….wear good shoes, take plenty of water, dress for the weather, pack a map, and always let someone know where you are going. In this part of western North Carolina there is the added advice to stay off of the waterfalls. There are over 260 waterfalls in Transylvania County and they are all beautiful, but they are also dangerous and every year people die from venturing too far out. So when it comes to waterfalls, admire them from a distance, please.
What if you like hiking with your dog? What are some things to remember to make it a fun adventure for both of you?
Stay cool. Take plenty of breaks
It’s a lot easier for you to stay cool than it is for your dog. The only way dogs can stay cool is by panting. Give yourself and your pup plenty of opportunities to stop and sit in the shade, especially during the summer months. There are also vests that you can buy that help your best friend stay cool. You soak them in water and it cools your pet while he’s wearing it. While you’re out, watch your dog for signs of over heating like panting more than usual, lethargy, or vomiting.
Keep the bugs off
Ticks can be a big problem for dogs, and they like to hang out in the tall grasses. Minimize the chances of getting ticks by staying on the trail. Monthly flea and tick medicines will also help keep those little suckers off your dog. Don’t forget to check yourself and your dog for ticks when you get home.
Carry plenty of fresh water
That seems pretty logical doesn’t it. But there is another reason. Some pets may experience upset stomach from drinking water in rivers and ponds because of the naturally occurring bacteria. If you live in an area like we do and you hike a lot or take your pets to rivers to swim, talk to your vet about a vaccination that combats any contamination found in the water. Let’s face it…wild animals also enjoy the rivers and animals will do what they do in the water and that can cause problems when the water is ingested by your dog. We have our three dogs vaccinated every year.
Consider a Bear Bell
If you hike with your dog off leash, consider outfitting him with a bear bell. It’s a bell with a small velcro band that you attach to your dog’s collar. That way, if they get out of your sight, you can still hear them. The noise made by the bell is also a good warning to snakes and other wild animals. Check your favorite pet store or outdoor stores like Cabela.
Bring the Benadryl
Bugs bite dogs as well as their humans and plants that can make you itch can also make your dog itch so pack some Benadryl for both of you. Check with your vet first so you know how much Benadryl you can give your dog and when to give it. Dogs metabolise the drug very differently than we do so it is important to know the right dosage for your dog.
The Brevard area is a terrific place for getting outside and enjoying all the great scenery and natural surroundings. So get out there with your best friend and have some fun!
Ace, pictured here, is one of our three dogs that we have rescued over the last few years. He’s 97 pounds of pure love and the best real estate dog on the planet.
Above is our friend Hanes Hoffman and his best friend Hops. They spend a lot of time together on area trails. Hanes is also the owner Bluewater Copper Works.