Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hiking with the pup

Let's go already!
Zuko loves going hiking with me - the more uphill the better too. He knows when we are about to go hiking and he will circle and circle me. One day, he finally just gave up (with a huff) and sat by the door watching me to get ready.

The Bay Area has tons of hiking, though not all allow dogs (even on leash) and we are working our way through  many new (to us trails). However, with the dry season approaching, there are now also some big risks on the trails.

Poison Oak
"Leaves of three, leave it be". Try explaining that to a Shiba. Dogs can be effected by it, but can also pass the oil to their people - and we react much more strongly. 

Foxtail - not of the cute ShibaFox variety
Then there are foxtails. These are all over in the Bay Area and as they dry out, they can be deadly to dogs. They rapidly embed in the skin and typically need to be removed by a vet. There is risk of them getting in a dog's nose and causing major surgery, even death. Shibas' have such thick fur, that Zuko seems to have some protection from these. I have found a foxtail on him but it hadn't managed to work it's way through the masses of Shiba fur to his skin. Meanwhile, I've had one work through the netting in my running shoe and hurt like hell. 


And then there are the thistles. These are also wildly abundant and common. They don't seem to pose much risk for dogs unless they frolic in them or try to eat them. The bigger issue is for the humans. Zuko tends to like to pee on them. 

Zuko has gotten solid enough at recall that there are times I wonder if I could hike with him off-leash. Here is the scenario that stops me: 1) Zuko gets the zoomies in field of foxtails then 2) runs through a big patch of poison oak only to 3) get stuck in a patch of thistles. I have to dive in and save him then 1) head to the hospital to get a cortisone shot for the poison oak and 2) have a foxtail dug out of my leg and 3) get antibiotics for the infected thistle scratches I have. Meanwhile, Zuko is having a good nap on my bed and shedding on my pillow. 

-- Posted by Zuko's sarcastic mom


  1. Ugh, I'm HATING the foxtails that we're seeing all over East Bay dog parks. We can't really go to our favorite one during the summer because the foxtails are really too much. The second favorite has more well-define trails, and that seems to keep the dogs from wandering too far off into weedy territory. It's a reminder of how allergy season is looming on the horizon, though.

  2. Hi, I saw your cool halter over at Taro's website... Can you tell me what make it is and where you got it? It looks like it would fit better than my current one, woof!

  3. Hi Scout + Max: My harness is the Quick Fit harness from Ezy Dog!