Beautiful fall weather and the colors of the season are perfect reasons to explore the great outdoors — and bring your four-legged friend with you.  

Here are some tips from Mark Freeman, clinical assistant professor of community practice at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, on how to safely hike with your Hokie pet.  

  • Make sure your pet is up to date on tick prevention. Lyme and other tick-borne diseases are prevalent in the New River Valley, and ticks are active in temperatures down to 40 degrees.   

  • Pack plenty of water. Carry extra drinking water for your pet. There are a variety of portable/collapsible drinking bowl options. (You can even get one as part of the pet registration option in this year’s Hokie Hike.) 

  • Be on the lookout for biting and stinging wildlife. While less active in cooler weather, snakes and insects are still looking for warm spots to soak up the sun. Your pet will often spot these sunbathers long before you will. 

  • Know your pet’s limits. While an older or arthritic pet might love the idea of a 5-mile hike, you may end up carrying them for most of the trip. Older pets need to stop to rest often, and shorter hikes may be the best option. 

  • Pack the first-aid kit. If your pet suffers an accident or injury, soap and water, antibiotic ointment, light bandages, and Benadryl (for insect stings) can come in handy.  

The veterinary college is expanding to provide new opportunities for patients, students, and care teams. You can learn more about the Veterinary Teaching Hospital Expansion and Renovation Project online.

And if you haven’t signed up for this year’s Hokie Hike yet, it’s not too late! Registration (for both humans and pets) is still open. Get your limited edition hiking gear for you and your furry friend and hit the trail anytime between now and Nov. 27.

Be sure to share your shots of you and your pets safely enjoying the outdoors using #HokieHike. Happy hiking!  


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