Hiking with dogs

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wandering_tattler
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Hiking with dogs

Post by wandering_tattler » Dec 12 2006 6:08 pm

My wife and I will be moving to Rimrock, AZ, next month from Alaska with our two dogs, and having never hiked with them in the desert, are a little concerned about taking them on the trails.

It's funny, but we have no problem taking them into the Alaskan backcountry where there are all sorts of large mammals that can stomp, bite, eat or generally mess up a domestic canine. But throw rattlesnakes and scorpions into the mix and we haven't the faintest idea what to do. :o

Are there any tips, cautions, suggestions, or encouragement that folks can give us to either ease or affirm our fears of hiking with our lab and kelpie in our new home?

Thanks!

Paul
Seward, AK (soon to be Rimrock, AZ!)

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PaleoRob
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Post by PaleoRob » Dec 12 2006 7:15 pm

I go hiking with my dog all the time! In fact I'm able to bring him along to work every day, since I work outdoors. There is actually a rattlesnake vaccine that is availible from a vet for your dogs. Arizona is a pretty dog-friendly state, so I think you'll have lots of people sharing their experiences with you.
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Al_HikesAZ
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Dec 12 2006 7:52 pm

In response to wandering_tattler's reply:
What kind of dogs do you have? : dog : If you have Irish Setters don't bother coming to AZ. :lol:
There are trainers that can help you with rattlesnake avoidance. Many dogs instinctively keep their distance, but some get too curious. If you want to be absolutely positive, work with the trainers.
Scorpions are not really a problem when you are out in the bush. In the city I actually had a dog that ate a black widow with no ill effect.

Our biggest problems are with Teddy Bear Cholla Cactus (also known as Jumping Cactus)(see photos under the Flora Section). When dogs get them on their legs, they instinctively try to lick them off. WRONG. :cry: There are tons of very small spines. Carry a comb and get to your dog quickly. Otherwise it is a painful visit to the vet, a shot and tweezers to the tongue.
Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
Not if we can help it UNCLE JACK. http://www.sleepingdogtv.com/reel/Uncle-Jack.aspx Not if we can help it.

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Cautionary tail about rattlesnakes

Post by Randal_Schulhauser » Dec 12 2006 10:49 pm

Our Springer Spaniel had a Sunday rattlesnake encounter while walking on leash on a South Mountain trail. We came up over a ridge and heard the buzz. I stopped and Buster instictively stopped on a "sit-stay". I looked left and right not seeing a snake. Hell, the snake was right in the middle of the trail! Gave Buster a good jerk on the extend-a-leash, but he got bit on the right hind leg.

Carried him all the way home and rushed him to the Emergency Animal Clinic in Gilbert for treatment...

Fortunately the anti-venom was administered less than an hour after the bite resulting in zero muscle damage and the dog was able to resume normal activity in about 2 weeks. Amazing how the leg swelled about 5x its normal size about 48 hrs after the bite. Have pictures, but they are probably too graphic for this site...

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wandering_tattler
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Post by wandering_tattler » Dec 12 2006 11:36 pm

Thanks for all the advice! We've got a lab-cross and an Australian kelpie (both with black fur! :?: Will this be something to worry about?). Both of them are pretty smart, but they're both Alaskan born and raised. I don't think either of them have ever seen a snake, let alone a rattler.

I think we may try a combo of training (anyone know of a good snake avoidance trainer?) and just knowing where the closest emergency clinic is. Does anybody ever carry antivenin along on a walk with your dogs? My wife is a veterinarian technician, so I would feel comfortable with her administering it in the field, but I don't remember if you need to have the a-v specific to the species of snake that did the biting or not. Also, I think I remember that it needs to stay refridgerated...hard to do while hiking.

Oh well...I guess we'll just have to learn how to be "snake-smart". Can't be any harder than learning how to be moose- and bear-smart, eh?

Paul

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jkern15674
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Post by jkern15674 » Dec 13 2006 3:23 am

I wouldn't go so far as to carry the antivenom with your person, like you said just know where the clinics are. My brothers dog got bit several times in the face and was never given AV and other than having pain she is just fine. (Rattlers don't always inject their venom when biting.) As far as scorpions go the venom isn't strong enough to kill a normal dog it would just hurt. Until you dogs learn bout cacti bring the aforementioned comb and stay away from the chollas. Although in the Verde Valley you will not see to many chollas.

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ankaa
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Post by ankaa » Dec 13 2006 10:01 am

wandering_tattler wrote: I don't remember if you need to have the a-v specific to the species of snake that did the biting or not.
If it's the same treatment as for humans, all rattlesnake bites are treated with the same antivenin.
Another thing to consider out here is the heat, and it's even hotter close to the ground where your little friends will be. Make sure your dogs (and you) stay super hydrated. Remember, dogs don't sweat, so that cool breeze you feel isn't going to have any effect on them. Also, dogs can be pretty tough, but consider what it would feel like to be walking bare-foot where you're going. The ground out here can get super hot (that includes walking them in town), and much of the terrain out here is... well, pointy.
I don't own a dog, but I am friends with a few. With a little common sense, AZ will be a great new adventure for them.

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wandering_tattler
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Post by wandering_tattler » Dec 13 2006 12:50 pm

I'll definitely be bringing a comb when on walks. What about javelinas? Do they get as far north as the Verde Valley? I've never encountered them before, but I have these traumatic memories from watching Old Yeller as a kid. Our house is going to be a little off the beaten track (we'll be living at Montezuma's Well), so the land it sits on butts up against a fairly significant chunk of "wild" country. I'm hoping this means lots of cool birds and wildlife, but it will also probably mean needing to take extra precautions to make sure our dogs and the wildlife stay safe from each other.

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Post by Al_HikesAZ » Dec 13 2006 3:09 pm

wandering_tattler wrote:What about javelinas? Do they get as far north as the Verde Valley?
Here's some info from AZ Game & Fish http://www.azgfd.gov/w_c/urban_javelina.shtml
Javelina are common in much of central and southern Arizona, including the outskirts of the Phoenix area, most of Tucson, and occasionally as far north as Flagstaff.
Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
Not if we can help it UNCLE JACK. http://www.sleepingdogtv.com/reel/Uncle-Jack.aspx Not if we can help it.

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Post by wetbeaverlover » Dec 13 2006 4:45 pm

I'd worry more about meth :o users and drunk drivers living in the Rimrock area than i would javalinas and snakes. I haver lived here for many many years, it went from a nice quiet place to meth maker and land developers wet dream come true. You say you will be living at Montezumas well? Ranger? If you can overlook all the tweakers and thieves, its great place to live with all the whole Coconino national forest out your back door.
Dan

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jkern15674
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Post by jkern15674 » Dec 14 2006 12:45 am

Welcome to the 21st century...METH is everywhere. But the verde valley is still a sweet spot to live. To answer your ??? yes javelinas are everywhere but they are blind as a bat. So most likely you will not be attacked nor will your dog. We also have lions and bears oh my. Welcome to the wild west.......did someone mention the africanized KILLER bees???

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Post by SuperstitionGuy » Dec 14 2006 12:24 pm

Do not depend on your dog sniffing out a rattlesnake before you pass by it or step on it. My dog twice walked within one foot of a rattler and never smelled or saw it. Good thing as it probably would have bit him on the nose if he had investigated it.
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Post by Davis2001r6 » Dec 14 2006 4:50 pm

Like everyone else is saying cactus will be your dogs bigger problem, that and getting used to the heat. Just bring plenty of water for the pups and I'm sure they will be fine. I have an Australian/Queensland/herder type mut, never a problem with snakes or scorpions, just the cactus once in a while.

As far as the rattlesnake antivenom I think it's only like $100 to get them the pre-treatment type thing. A few vets in Phoenix actually have it. It can be given like annual shot or something. I don't know all the details...sorry.

Funny thing is if your dog needs to get the shot it's a couple hundred bucks, for a human it's over $10k, hope you got insurance.

Back on track... found the link to the doggy antivenom, looks like it's Two injections 30 days apart and an annual booster.

http://www.redrockbiologics.com/

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Post by wandering_tattler » Dec 15 2006 2:07 am

Thanks for the link. That really helps ease my mind.

It's funny, I always thought vaccinations were for viruses and bacteria, not for a toxin (like venom). Learn something new every day!
You say you will be living at Montezumas well? Ranger?
Yup! We're pretty excited to be moving to the area, and plan on exploring it extensively. We love hiking and are really looking forward to taking our dogs out on the trails. I'm hoping that by arriving in January we'll be able to acclimate ourselves to the summer temps by the time they climb into the 100's. The way I've been preparing myself mentally is to compare it to life in Alaska, just the opposite: perfect weather for outdoor recreation 7-8 months out of the year, followed by 2-3 months in the winter (summer for AZ) when you have to be extra careful/prepared when venturing outside.

At least that's what I keep trying to tell myself. I'm sure the dogs will love it. They will have all sorts of new smells to discover.
: dog :

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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by Sheepdog » Mar 04 2010 5:04 am

I wouldn't worry too much about the javelinas. They have poor vision and are easily shooed away with a little bit of noise. The critters you remember from Old Yeller were wild hogs or boars; not javelina, which are actually rodents.

Most of the mammalian wildlife in Arizona will generally avoid people, unless rabid. Snakes you just need to keep an eye out for, as they are most often found when stepped on while they are sunning themselves in the middle of the trail.

No joke about the Cholla, just stay away. I refer to them as the world's only predatory cactus.

BTW, welcome to Yavapai County! Support your local Sheriff!

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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by joebartels » Mar 04 2010 10:49 am

Sheepdog wrote:The critters you remember from Old Yeller were wild hogs or boars; not javelina, which are actually rodents.
What's your source?
Yahoo Member wrote:Its in the family Artiodactyla, the same family as pigs. Javelinas have big tusks and hooves, which are not characteristics of rodents. There is the agouti, which is a rodent that has some similarities in appearance to javelinas.
Yahoo Member wrote:They are in the pig family, but are not of the same species. There are 3 species of javelina or peccary all from the New World. The escaped pigs from the Old World are known as razorbacks and get much larger (some near 1000 lbs.). Javelinas can get to about 90 lbs.
Yahoo Member wrote:A javelina, also known as a peccary, is not a rodent. It is in a
family closely related to pigs and looks very much like a pig,
but is somewhat different. There are two kinds, the collared
and the white-lipped, both occurring in the New World, from
southwestern United States to South America. They are, if
I remember correctly, in the family Tayassuidae, while true
pigs are family Suidae.
http://www.animalcorner.co.uk/wildlife/javelina.html wrote:A fourth species, the Giant Peccary (Pecari maximus) was recently discovered in the Brazilian Amazon. Peccaries are similar to domestic pigs only they cannot be tamed due to their aggressive nature and are likely to cause injury or kill humans. The word javelina is a Spanish word meaning 'javelin' or 'spear' as they have razor sharp tusks. Peccaries are not members of the rodent family or the pig family.
http://javelinahunter.com/are_they_pigs.htm
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by big_load » Mar 04 2010 12:51 pm

While the rodent classification is incorrect, it's true that wild hogs are often more aggressive than javelinas.

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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by BobP » Mar 04 2010 12:56 pm

big_load wrote:wild hogs are often more aggressive
I saw them burn down a biker bar once :)
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by big_load » Mar 04 2010 12:58 pm

:sl:

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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by Sheepdog » Mar 05 2010 6:24 pm

I stand corrected. Thanks. Always thought of them as ROUS's.

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