We have been writing articles for the Pet Happenings for 6 years now, and our first article was one of our best: how to enjoy and be prepared for hot weather with your dog. We love going outside with our dogs here in Grand & San Juan County. There is vast space and amazing things to see within a short drive and hike in just about any direction from Moab. We want you to have an amazing and safe journey out into our red wilderness. So here is a summary from our first article and hikes for all skill levels we recommend this time of year with your furry friends!
How to Best enjoy Hiking With Your Dog – be prepared!
The desert is mesmerizing for you and your pooch. You chase petroglyphs, your dog chases lizards, and it’s easy to get lost. Stay alert and aware of each other’s location. Try not to get too far ahead or behind.
Bring water, lots of water! For every 60lbs of dog you need 1 gallon of water per day! Also you need water too so bring a lot if I haven’t already mentioned that.
Pick something that is appropriate for you and your dog’s skill level! We rate trails and give plenty of information so you can enjoy yourself.
Don’t bring your dog if you want to hike midday in summer or will be out for more than 4 hours of vigorous exercise early or late in the day any time of year. Although your Aussie, border collie, and or pointer can run for hours, our terrain is brutal! If you have your dogs with you make sure their feet are protected and you have an alternate way for them to get out if their feet start to get torn up. We hear about and see really bad foot injuries here all the time from well-conditioned dogs that will run on an injured foot. It’s not because dogs have an incredible pain tolerance or merely because they do not want to get left behind. Check their feet often, have wound care supplies with you or better yet get booties to protect their feet, they start around $40. We carry multiple brands for fit and size.
If you are out in the heat, and your dog has become overheated you will know it by how they act. Heat exhaustion comes first with the symptoms of excessive panting and flushed skin (easiest to recognize in the ears and mucous membranes) or the dog is hot to the touch. Without treatment, heat exhaustion will escalate. Look for symptoms like a body temperature of over 104F degrees (normal range is 100-102), increased heart rate and breathing, salivation, vomiting and/or diarrhea, weakness or dizziness, stumbling, depression or subdued behavior, seizures and loss of consciousness. If your dog is showing ANY signs of heat exhaustion/heat stroke, take action immediately. First, take them to a cooler place; spray them for a few minutes with cool- not cold- water, without submersing them. If it’s not possible or practical to spray them down, soak some towels with water and place them on the head and neck, feet, and abdomen. Place icepacks around them if you can and use electric or even makeshift manual fans to cool them off. Apply rubbing alcohol in the “armpits” and on the pads of the feet. Do not force them to drink but you may offer water if they are well enough to drink. If your dog has shown any moderate signs of heat exhaustion you should seek veterinary care as there is possible organ damage, neurological damage and other complications. The best method is to prevent heat exhaustion in the first place. So make sure to take breaks for you and your pets. Seek shade and chill for a bit!
Practice recall with your dog. Recall is my favorite thing to work on with my dogs. We have dachshunds and they are easily distracted so we need to remind them often to come back when called. We start with a light breakfast and a handful of the best treats ever. A mix of string cheese cut up into cubes, hot dogs bits mixed with their favorite training treats. When we go out we start on leash and before we even get out of the parking lot we ask them to come, sit at our feet and look up at our face. As soon as this happens they get a treat and then we say go away. We practice this many times on leash and many times off leash, mostly when there is no distraction present. We pay more attention to our dogs and they do to us as well. Then if a distraction does happen they are more likely to break that trail and come back when called.
Amazing hikes for spring with your dog in Moab:
Hidden Valley Trail
Difficulty: moderate to hard (first 0.6 miles are tough, after that much easier)
Leash rules: Leashes recommended (why? – mountain bikers, cliffs)
Distance: 4 miles round trip (out to Rim Trail connection and back)
Trailhead: 3 miles south of Moab on Hwy 191, take right of Angel Rock Road, then
2 blocks and right on rimrock at the end of the road is parking and trailhead access.
Must see: View of Moab Valley, petroglyphs at the end of the trail that begins at saddle along the west cliff base. Your dog will love the occasional cottontail sighting, woof!
Corona Arch Trail
Difficulty: moderate (if your dog is large, there is a ladder section so you have to be able to lift them)
Leash rules: have one with you in case, but if your dog is has good recall there are no motorized vehicles on this trail, just hikers. Be considerate is all we ask!!
Distance: 3 miles out and back
Trailhead: North on Hwy 191 about 1 miles after Colorado river bridge take left onto UT 279. 10 miles on right trailhead sign.
Must see: An arch! Actually there are three visible on this trail! About ½ way you will see pinto arch on the left in the distance, then bowtie arch just before Corona arch on the left as well, it is pothole shaped and high above. Your dog will have a great time chasing lizards on this trail.
Copper Ridge Dinosaur Trail
Difficulty: easy for you and your dog
Leash rules: off leash allowed but have one with you and be prepared to use if necessary
Distance: 0.5 miles or less to the actual tracks
Trailhead: North on Hwy 191 for 23 miles and .75 miles past marker 148 turn right. Cross railroad tracks and follow road for 2 miles to parking area. Road can be muddy during and after rain!
Must see: Dinosaur tracks! Five sets of tracks, ranging from 8” to 15” long. This is also a great place to run the dog before you head home.