What to know before taking your dog hiking in Colorado's mountains

3 dogs rescued in 3 weeks

DENVER -- When Michael Menand and his 12-year-old son, Jackson, hit the trails, their buddy, Greg, is rarely far behind. The 2-year-old Golden doodle has already summitted three 14er's.

"He has dog boots," Menand said. "He does carry his own pack with water. He pretty much has what he needs to be successful out there."

In fact, he's often more prepared than some of his human counterparts, but not all dogs are.

On July 8, West Metro Fire Rescue crews had to rescue Riley from a trail in Red Rocks. The pooch had cut his paws and couldn't walk out but made it to safety thanks to some help from rangers with Jefferson County Open Space.

A day later, on July 9, the Summit County Rescue Group pulled another dog with bloody, cut paws from Quandry Peak and a week later, they were called out to rescue "Roscoe" from Ute Pass when the dog suddenly became sick.

Dog rescued from Quandry Peak. (Photo courtesy: Summit County Rescue Group)

"People don't really take the time to assess the trail that they're going to be taking their dog on," said Charles Pitman, public information officer for Summit County Rescue Group.

Pitman said it's important to do your research about the trails before you go.

"[We recommend] going to a site such as 14ers.com. A lot of people hike these trails and you can get a lot of very good and very solid information about what trails are like," said Pitman.

Pitman also recommended Google mapping the area so you can see how rocky the trail is. Some other tips experts recommend:

  • Pack water and keep your dog hydrated
  • Keep your dog's paws and belly wet so it doesn't overheat
  • Make sure your dog is up to date on its rabies vaccination
  • Know your dog's limits--older dogs will often try and keep up to the point of exhaustion
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