Summer is the ideal time for adventure. For many of us, that means hitting the trails with our furry family to see what the natural world has to offer. The sites, sounds, and smells of the great outdoors are intoxicating to us all, but are perhaps even more so to our four-legged friends.

Keeping your dog safe on the trail is important. There are a million and one things for a dog to discover when out for a hike and, unfortunately, many of those discoveries lead to nothing but trouble. Likewise, your well-meaning dog may discover something he or she could do harm to as well. Skunks, wild animals, and newborn wildlife are just a few of the things you and your dog may discover when out and about this summer, and they are all things that you should be prepared for.


Let’s face it, there is nothing worse than the smell of a skunk. Just the idea makes your eyes burn. But inevitably it happens to the best of us every year, a curious dog ends up on the wrong side of a skunk and the next thing you know you’re elbow-deep in tomato juice and cursing the heavens above.

While keeping your dog on-leash and well trained can help in reducing the odds of your dog getting sprayed, it’s best to be prepared. At Union Lake Veterinary Hospital we offer both at-home de-skunking formulas and in-house de-skunking services. Should you need either our products or our services, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Wild Animals

Wild animals are a fact of life when you’re on the trails and in the country, and it’s important to keep both your pet and the local critter community out of harms way. Training your dog to be a good citizen when in the wild is a great start.

But no matter how well trained your dog is, there are times when he or she catches the scent of something and is off like a shot. Keeping your dog on-leash is the best way to ensure everyone’s safety, including your own. If you are going to let your dog run, make sure you know the terrain and know what animals may be in the area. The last thing anyone wants to deal with is your curious critter discovering a den of bear cubs while at play.

Newborn Wildlife

Speaking of bear cubs … While it is unlikely that your dog will discover cubs (unless you’re in the back country or at a National Park), it is entirely possible that he or she may encounter newborn wildlife while in the wild. Newborn deer, rabbits, birds, and other creatures are all part of nature and are often left alone while their parents go out to forage for food.

If you and your dog do encounter newborn wildlife do your very best to leave it at peace and have your dog do the same. Thickets, rabbit holes, fox holes and dens of all types are no place for your dog to be nosing around. If you do find these wild homes, please leash your pet until you are a safe distance away and can ensure everyone’s safety, including your own.

If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s safety, behavior training, or if your pet is injured while in the wild, please call us, we’ll be happy to help.