March 11, 2022, Outdoor Activities, Pet Friendly

6 Safety Tips For Protecting Your Pets in the Desert

Deserts can be deceptive: one minute, you’re feeling the cool air of the early morning as the sun casts its first shadows across the red rocks; the next, you’re feeling dizzy from the heat, wondering if you brought enough water for your expedition.

It’s critical to be prepared for the harsh conditions in order to enjoy the beauty, and the same goes for the four-legged friends accompanying you on your journey. So we’ve collected these tips on staying safe with your pet.

1. Keep them hydrated and well-fed.

Pack enough water not only for yourself, but your pet as well, and don’t forget a collapsible water bowl. If your dog is panting heavily, it’s a sign of dehydration. So is glazed eyes, increased heart rate and noticeable lethargy. Also plan to bring enough food for a full day, even if you’re headed on a 2-hour hike, to make sure your dog has enough fuel to keep up with you.

2. Watch out for harmful plants

Ask a local guide which plants can be dangerous for pets. Cacti and other prickly plants, such as foxtail, have sharp spines (or needles) that can puncture your pet’s skin and burrow into it. And in case Fido does suffer from an encounter of the spine kind, pack some needle-removal tools (think: tweezers, antibiotic ointment, a metal-toothed comb) and a first-aid kit. Keep an eye on your pet for a few days after, and make sure to consult a vet if there’s any behavior changes, as some injuries can be invisible to the eye!

3. Venture out in the mildest possible weather

Sedona’s cool season is from November to March, making these months the best to head into the desert. However, you can still beat the summer heat – with some savvy planning. Avoid the hottest time of day (midday), and venture out early in the morning. For that extra bit of caution, bring boots or socks in case the weather turns unexpectedly hot, and you’re a long way from your car. Just remember that it takes some pups time to get comfortable with wearing something on their paws, so make sure to try the boots on them ahead of time first.

4. Be alert for desert creatures

Snakes, scorpions, and other residents of the desert can draw your pet’s curiosity. Make sure your dog is trained to avoid chasing other animals and to stay by your side on command. Also, keep your dog on a leash to obey Sedona’s law, stay on designated trails, and read up on what type of critters to expect.

5. Check local laws, and bring your dog’s ID

Laws vary park by park, so make sure to do your homework and study them before bringing your pet. Keep a securely attached collar including your dog’s tag with your phone number on it (a microchip also works) – just in case you are separated or approached by the authorities.

6. Bring a medical kit

It’s worth mentioning again that a medical kit can come in handy on any outdoor adventure with your favorite canine companion. The American Hiking Society recommends the Trail Dog Medical Kit, which contains a first-aid handbook, tick and splinter remover, triangular bandage, and wound irrigation tool all packed in an easy-to-carry waterproof bag.