Protect your pets while enjoying summer fun
July 20, 2012
Mackenzie holds a prestigious license that gives her the authority to enforce law and order in the Lake Wildwood community.
Twice a day, the bearded collie constable chases away the local goose gangs who hang out at parks and beaches, leaving behind unwanted reminders of their presence.
But, because of summertime, Mackenzie has to take precautions against the heat while on goose patrol.
“Since dogs are susceptible to overheating, and Mackenize has so much hair, I sometimes use a cooling coat that regulates her body heat,” said Mackenzie’s owner, David Anderson.
Mackenzie also competes in various obedience and agility events in which owners navigate their dogs through obstacle courses testing the animal’s speed and maneuverability.
These events help manage Mackenzie’s weight and condition her for running and staying as active as she does, said Anderson.
Anderson isn’t the only local dog owner who stays aware of his animal’s well-being while outdoors.
Local Vicie Evans and her dogs enjoy hiking in Nevada County at locations including Carr lake, Rollins Reservoir and Nevada Irrigation District trails.
Evans ensures that she keeps enough water with her for the dogs, as well as a meal if they’re hiking for long periods of time.
“Our area is very dog friendly, I can let them off the leash to run around and have fun, but I keep a bear bell on my pack just in case,” said Evans.
Evans stays aware of foxtails, one of the biggest issues among outdoor pets in Nevada County, according to local veterinarians, by checking on her dogs and staying aware of her surroundings.
She also keeps the dogs up-to-date with Frontline medication and other important vaccines to combat ticks and infectious creatures and diseases.
According to Jerry Karnow, a Fish and Game warden, there are three important issues that every dog owner needs to stay aware of while outdoors this summer:
Rattlesnakes are most common in areas that are close to shade and water, and it just so happens that most river trails have both of these elements.
The snakes like to hang out in root shade (stumps) and around big rocks, said Karnow. He recommended that humans step on the rocks, rather than around them, to avoid unseen and lingering rattlers.
Most dogs sniff around, snout first, and stumble into one of these areas where a snake is lying, and with this approach, it’s common to get bit in the nose.
“It kills dogs or the vet bill is significant for anti-venom,” Karnow said. “It’s gonna cost you.”
According to Dr. Nolet of Pine Creek Veterinary Clinic, anti-venom ranges from $600-800 per vile, and some cases require more than one.
Dr. Nolet also recommends a new rattlesnake vaccine that does not neutralize the venom but can minimize the effect. These vaccines cost $25 and are injected annually.
For the best snakebite prevention, Karnow recommended facilities, like Mike Raahauge’s Shooting Enterprises in Corona, that train animals in rattlesnake awareness.
“These classes use actual, defanged rattlesnakes on animals and teach them to recognize smell and sound,” said Karnow.
Ticks are a prevalent species in Nevada County and carry diseases such as Lyme, HGE and Babesiosis which can be transferred to your dog and also to you.
“You want to comb the hair of dogs with a fine-toothed comb to get the ticks after every exposure to wilderness,” said Karnow.
“The pro for having dogs with you on a walk is that it discourages other predators, like lions, from attacking,” said Karnow.
Earlier this month, a 63-year-old man was attacked by a lion while camping northwest of Nevada City.
“Lions attack by ambush,” Karnow said. “If a lion sees two entities, it will be a lot more difficult for it to attack and often it won’t, so it would be at your advantage if you have a dog with you.”
For more information about staying safe during outdoor activities, you can visit http://www.hikewithyourdog.com – look under the “tips” section to help you get started.
Ryan Gallagher is a University of Nevada student working as an intern with The Union. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4234. Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker contributed to this article.