Hikes, Heat and Happy Tails: 5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe Hiking In The Heat

Summer time in Southern California is a classic American dream. Beaches, hiking and outdoor activities galore! VBAS volunteers are offering 5 friendly tips for hiking with your pet during these hot months.


Miki, (just got adopted!!!), on a happy hike. Photo credit: Molly Minard
  1.       The Five Second Rule

First and foremost, make sure it is not too hot to walk or hike with your dog. Place your hand on the pavement or dirt with the back of your hand. If you cannot hold your hand for more than five seconds, it is too hot to walk your dog.


Batman ( a recent shelter graduate!)  on a Happy Tails Hike. Photo Credit: Molly Minard
  1.       Water, Water, Water

Always bring a bottle of water and collapsible water bowl. Many hiking trails now have dog drinking fountains but providing a collapsible water bowl will allow your pet to always get water when needed.


VBAS Happy Tail Hike Participant and his water bowl on a hike. Photo Credit: Nora Hui
  1.       Watch for Signs of Dehydration

Bringing water isn’t always enough. Keep an eye out for signs of dehydration.

Key signs of dehydration are:

  • Tongues curled at the tip
  • Red tongues
  • Excessive panting
  • Pale gums
  • Weakness

Spray down your dog’s entire body and pour water on their belly to keep them cool.


Photo Credit: Nora Hui
  1.       Leashed Life

Always keep your dogs leashed. Unless you are in a designated “off- leash” area, you must always keep your dogs leashed for their safety and the safety of other dogs.


Prince Roger, a current Burbank Animal Shelter resident, with his leash. Photo Credit: Molly Minard
  1.       Flea and Critter Check

At the end of a happy hike/walk, always be sure to check your dog for any additions that may have managed to hitch a ride. Frequent checks of fleas and critters will make sure that your dog stays healthy and will not transfer critters to other household pets.

Photo Credit: Nora Hui

Hiking is a great time for all parties involved, just be sure to remember these five tips and hike safely!  Our Happy Tails Hiking Program gives shelter dogs the opportunity to get out of the shelter and get their paws dirty hiking on weekends…and hopefully meet potential adopters.    (More info about that next month!)