Enjoying the California desert with your dog

By: Roger Coryell
Brown and white dog in close up photography
Photo by 狸 花 on Pexels.

Taking a trip to the desert can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Before you embark on your adventure, here are some important tips for enjoying the California desert with your dog.

  • Hydrate: Since temperatures tend to be hotter in the desert, make sure to provide plenty of fresh water for yourself and your pup. Fill up multiple containers if possible, and bring water with you wherever you go.
  • Take breaks: After all that hiking and exploring, giving yourself and your pup time to relax and rest every now and then is important. Find shaded areas or a cool spot – like a riverbank – where you can take a break together and enjoy some cool refreshments in the process!
  • Plan ahead: Check the weather forecasts before heading out to know how hot it will likely be during your outing, as well as any current advisories regarding safety concerns like flash flooding or extreme winds in certain areas of the desert region. Make sure also check which trails and campsites are pet-friendly before leaving home!
  • Bring supplies: The barren terrain of the desert can present challenges when attempting to find food or shelter for humans and pets; stock up on non-perishable items (for yourself) and treats for your four-legged friend before hitting the trail! Don’t forget to pack a first aid kit, collar tags with contact info, poo bags, leashes, blankets/pillows/bedding for sleeping outdoors, sunblock (for dogs, too!), toys, etc.
  • Respect nature: Always follow Leave No Trace guidelines when visiting any area of nature – pick up litter left by others if you have room to carry it out; don’t allow pets off leash unless in designated ‘fetch’ areas; respect wildlife by not disturbing plant life or disturbing habitats of animals; practice good canine behavior on trails where other hikers may be present; …and always remember – pack it in / pack it out!
  • Watch out for cacti: When it comes to cacti, it’s important to remember that their spines can cause serious injury if you or your pet encounter them. Make sure to keep a safe distance away from all cacti. If you think your pup may have been poked by a cactus spine, examine the area carefully and flush the wound with hot water and soap – if necessary, consult a vet as soon as possible. If your pup has a cactus thorn embedded in its paw, take caution when attempting to remove it. The best way to proceed is to put on protective gloves and use a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers to extract the thorn carefully.

Taking your dog along on outdoor adventures is one of life’s great pleasures –make sure you keep these helpful reminders in mind when planning an outing into California’s vast desert regions! Have fun exploring!


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