PONS with their keen sense of hearing and smell, can make
wonderful hiking companions for families willing to take the
proper precautions. Consult with your vet about important
vaccinations and request a basic health checkup before making a
final decision about bringing your PON along on a hiking trip.
Vaccinations need to include rabies, flea and tick control
and inquiries about Lyme and Rocky Mountain spotted fever,
depending on your area of the country.
Once your vet has cleared your PON's health, and made sure
vaccinations are updated, you can start a training regimen if
your PON is not used to regular strenuous exercise. Owners can
start with longer walks around the neighborhood and increase
distances so that both PON and owners become conditioned to
increased daily exercise.
Be sure to have copies of your PON's vaccinations in case of
emergency visits to a local vet. Your vet may also suggest a
canine first aid kit as well. Learn basic first aid techniques
which may save your PON's life. First Aid kits should include
basic supplies such as alcohol wipes, antibiotic cream and
bandages. Wise owners will also wish to have their family vet's
phone number on hand for consultations.
All PONS need to be checked for ticks at the end of all
hikes. Be sure to have a spoon-shaped tick remover available at
Clean drinking water is essential for your PONS and you
should avoid having your PON drink from streams or ponds on the
trail, which may contain giardia and other dangerous bacteria.
Consider bringing a good supply of bottled water and a
collapsible water bowl.
Owners need to be informed of local laws when hiking
with their PONS. Most hiking areas have regulations regarding
dogs on leashes. If this is not required in your area, PON
owners should seriously consider leashing PONS to prevent them
from running after wildlife and injuring themselves. A
longer leash of about 15 feet will offer your PON more room to
explore his environment. Be very sure that your PON has all of
his identification information, including your name and phone
number in case he becomes lost.
Last, but not least, responsible PON owners need to carry
plastic bags to pick up after their PONS in the wild. Following
posted regulations and keeping your PON under control will allow
owners to enjoy relaxing autumn hikes.