For those that may have missed it, Cappy went for an EPIC hike this past Friday with boy human. It was a few hours at Sleeping Giant State Park up the “hard” trail. The trail starts off by going almost straight up some rock inclines and then through the wooded around and back down. We haven’t hiked this train in a long time. Our usual hiking trails are all dirt and some gravel, but no solid rock surface. BeagleFace just didn’t get conditioned well enough to be able to do this hike this early in the season.
So anyways, all the climbing basically gave him a blister on the bottom of his paws! Eventually the blister opens and the skin falls off but it leaves a very tender spot until it hardens up again. This is what you see in the photo- the space where his paw pad came off. This actually happened on all of his 3 feet because he didn’t start showing any signs of slowing down until the way end when they were already worn off. Once he did, boy human checked him over and noticed it and picked him up and carried him a mile back over the mountain to the car. Thank god he had the blanket with him to carry him!
He’s going to be FINE. This is not uncommon with active dogs / hiking dogs but it can be avoided. It will probably be another 2 or 3 days (max) where it will be somewhat uncomfortable to walk but he’s at least walking on them without visible pain today and it’s only been 2 days. His front paw is still the painful one because he only has one foot on the front so it didn’t really get much rest. That said, even that paw is improving each day.
If its not too bad the pads will just fall off on their own, the dog will limp a little while, and all will be better again in a couple of days. Now, if the paws were actually bleeding a vet visit is necessary because you do not want them to get an infection, especially since the paws are used all the time. Cappy was not bleeding but it was very pink looking so we wrapped it up with sterile gauze pads and some Bag Balm (we LOVE this stuff!)
Things we learned:
The best thing you can do is just let your dog work up to high intensity activities. If you’re going on long hikes do a bunch of shorter ones to start and test to see how your dog does. Make sure the surface is similar to the one you will be hiking on too! (thats the main mistake we made!).
If you are going on a hike with your dog ALWAYS pack a medium sized blanket (even if your hike is going to only be 30 minutes!). Keep in mind what you would have to do if your dog really hurt themselves and could not walk back to the car. The blanket can be used for a bunch of things but most importantly, it can be used as a stretcher / carrier. Other important things to bring when hiking with your dog: extra bottle of water, foldable water bowl, small first aid kit, some treats for both training and refueling on long hikes.
After a hike make sure you let your dog rest, especially if they aren’t used to hiking yet. Its a lot to take in for a dog with the physical aspect paired with the mental stimulation. Immediately after your hike checkover your dog for any little wounds on the paws or around the mouth and ears that you might not have noticed while on the move.
When you get home give your dog a bath. Hiking will expose your pooch to a lot of new plants and critters and you want to make sure he doesn’t bring something home with him. Frontline and such doesn’t protect from irritants from plants or other little microscopic critters. If your dog doesn’t have sensitive skin a quick wash-down is fine. Cappy has seriously sensitive skin so we use the medicated shampoo listed below.
#1 most important rule is – have fun! Hiking with your dog sounds like a lot of work but once you have a nice little routine, it’s easy peasy! We have all of our hiking gear in one bag and grab and go! Hiking with your dogs is one of the most rewarding experiences. It helps socialize your dog, gives them an outlet for nervous energy, and creates a well balanced dog and owner relationship.
CHECKOUT OUR HIKING SURVIVAL KIT AND MAKE YOUR OWN!
IN YOUR HIKING BAG:
Are you worried about hiking with your dog or think s/he will run away or get hurt? Stay tuned for our PT2 article ‘Preparing your dog for outdoor adventures’ coming soon.