[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
52°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
January 22
1839 - Gov. Juan B. Alvarado gives most of SCV to Mexican Army Lt. Antonio del Valle. [story]


Commentary by Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel
| Sunday, Dec 8, 2013

DianneErskineHellrigelYour dog relies on you to keep him safe on the trail. There are a lot of hazards out there you should be aware of to keep yourself and your best friend safe.

Many people think of a hike as a place where their dog can run free and off of the leash. Unfortunately, this is not true. If a dog is running around and playing off-leash, predators such as mountain lions and bears can be attracted to them and attack.

The dog can also run into poison oak when he is off-trail. Even if it won’t affect the dog’s skin under his fur, he can be susceptible to infection of the eyes or pass the oil from the plant on to you at a later point, which can cause a reaction.

Ticks, snakes, contaminated water and food are other things a dog might encounter when he is off-trail. And if he laps up contaminated water or eats poisoned food, chances are you won’t be in the brush to stop him.

Any of these things can be harmful or fatal to your pet. Not to mention that if you’re caught with your animal off-leash at a local park, it can cost you hundreds of dollars in fines.

The bottom line is that you are responsible for the health of your pet.

dogsontrailhikeA first prudent step would be to confer with your vet to see if your pet is healthy enough for a rigorous hike. Once that has been established, you might consider taking first-aid items for your animal with you when you hike.

Your vet can give you help in assembling your doggie first aid kit, or direct you to a book on the subject. But you might start with an assortment of items including saline eye wash, a muzzle, blunt scissors, gauze pads and wrap, dog booties for injured paws, doggie nail clippers, tweezers, ointments – and don’t forget to take him lots of water and a bowl.

After every hike, you should check yourself and your dog for ticks. Spread his fur and look for embedded ticks, and comb his fur thoroughly to check for ticks hidden but not yet embedded.

Avoid grass and overhanging brush, and make sure your dog is reined in so as not to touch the brush, as well. A tick repellent used before going out is also a good idea.

Poison oak is prevalent in our valley. There is no poison ivy. The best thing to do is to learn what poison oak looks like, and avoid it. Remember the saying: “Leaves of Three, Let it Be.” When you see it, rein in your dog and keep him from touching it. Remember, he can pass it on to you or your family.

This time of year, there are no leaves on the poison oak, but the twigs and berries still have the oil, urushiol, on them, which is what causes the reaction. So, look out for the twigs – and berries, too.

Insects that sting can be another problem. Bees, wasps, mosquitoes and black flies can not only be irritating, but also dangerous. Use repellents and nets on yourself, and get a prescription repellent for your dog. If your dog is agreeable to wearing a net, this would be helpful for him, too. And it might just be a great conversation starter on the trail.

Irritating plants such as stinging nettles also abound near our creeks and trails. Brambles and thistles are another concern. Again, avoiding them is the best defense. If you and your dog stay on the trail, you are less likely to be exposed to these nasty plants.

Most of the snakes you will come across will be non-poisonous. However, they can still bite and cause an infection. It is best to avoid all snakes at all times. It is also important to be able to recognize a rattlesnake, and if you or your dog are bitten, it is important to get help immediately.

Do not use a snakebite kit, and do not apply a tourniquet. The most important thing is to get to a hospital (or veterinary hospital) immediately. Call 9-1-1 and have an ambulance meet you at the trailhead if you are bitten. If your dog is bitten, pick him up, if at all possible, and return to your vehicle as quickly as you can, and get him to the vet’s office.

Snakes like grass, so keep your dog in the middle of the trail whenever possible and away from grassy areas.

Most water you will find along the trails will be polluted or contain a micro-organism called Giardia, a bacteria that will cause chronic diarrhea. It is best to avoid water in the wild. Bring your own and bring enough for your dog. If you are gone for days at a time, there are purification pumps you can add to your pack and iodine or chlorine pills that will help to keep you healthy.

Any wild or dead food your dog may find along the way is most likely to be hazardous to his health. Bones can fragment; the animal might have been poisoned; or a carcass could contain lead or any number of other pollutants. Be sure both you and your dog have a sufficient supply of food any time you go on a trip – even a day hike.

Another consideration, and one of the most important, is weather. I witnessed a dog expire this summer as he was running in extreme heat, trying to catch up to his mountain biking owner. Extreme heat or cold can kill your pet. Plan your activities so you will avoid the heat of the day in summer. Check the weather report and avoid days of extreme cold, rain or snow. Be kind to your pet. Remember, he is out in the heat of the day with a fur coat on, or in the snow with bare feet.

Finally, be considerate of others on the trail. Keep your dog under control, as he may frighten others.  Pick up after your dog and keep “it” off of the trail so someone else doesn’t step in it.

Hike responsibly, stay safe and be comfortable. Happy trails.

 

 

Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel is executive director of the Community Hiking Club and president of the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy.

 

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Thursday, Jan 11, 2018
There may come a time in your life when you need mental health care. Your Medicare covers a wide variety of such services, in both hospital inpatient and outpatient settings.
Monday, Jan 1, 2018
Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin previews Year 4 of the city's five-year Strategic Plan in his monthly message for January 2018.
Sunday, Dec 10, 2017
Derelict since the 1994 earthquake, the Pioneer Oil Refinery in Newhall was the first productive oil refinery in the American West and is believed to be the oldest existing refinery in the world today. Unfunded restoration plans have come and gone. Now that the surrounding property is under development, will the promises be kept?
Friday, Dec 8, 2017
A National Memorial designation for St. Francis Dam will honor those who lost their lives in the nation’s worst engineering disaster and the role it played in ushering in a new era of oversight for dam construction.
Thursday, Dec 7, 2017
Eliminating net neutrality would allow Internet service providers such as Verizon, Comcast, Spectrum and AT&T to create a “slow lane” and a “fast lane” on the Internet, prioritizing certain companies over others and dictating what websites you’re able to visit and at what speed, or even blocking you entirely from visiting certain websites of your choice.
Monday, Dec 4, 2017
In his monthly message for December 2017, Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin encourages residents to shop and party locally during the holidays to keep the cash in our community.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1839 - Gov. Juan B. Alvarado gives most of SCV to Mexican Army Lt. Antonio del Valle. [story]
1914 - Signal newspaper owner-editor Scott Newhall born in San Francisco [story]
1993 - Hart High grad Dee Dee Myers (1979) becomes first female White House press secretary [story]
Traffic on McBean Parkway between Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard will be delayed intermittently between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday, January 22 due to filming involving a Cessna airplane that will land at the Valencia Country Club.
Jan. 22: Filming in Valencia to Prompt Street Closures
Attorneys Brian Koegle and David Poole of Santa Clarita Valley law firm Poole & Shaffery, LLP will provide insight on legal matters affecting California businesses at the Valley Industry Association's February luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on February 20 starting at 11:45 a.m.
Feb. 20: VIA Luncheon, 2018 Employment Law Update
Oak Hills Educational Foundation and Oak Hills PTA will be hosting their annual science fair at Oak Hills School in Valencia in the form of an exciting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Expo event on Jan. 23rd-26th.
Jan. 26: Oaks Hills STEM Expo
2017 was an exceptional year for the Santa Clarita Valley economy, and 2018 promises even more positive growth.
Live, Work, Play in SCV: All to Improve in 2018
Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation Mythbusters tackle a tough and persistent question: Is growing a community a good thing?
SCV EDC Mythbusters: Why Growth is Good
The nonprofit SCV Mayor’s Committee For Employment of Individuals with Disabilities will host its second annual Educate-Empower-Employ Recognition Luncheon at COC on Thursday, February 22.
Feb. 22: SCV Mayor’s Committee Annual Luncheon, Fundraiser
CalArts alumni will stage the second annual Co-Incidence Festival, an experimental music festival and residency hosted at Washington Street Gallery in Somerville, Massachusetts from Jan. 19-28.
Jan. 19-28: CalArtians Stage Co-Incidence Festival in Mass.
Joseph Wayne Monroy, a South Gate man charged with the murder of a Newhall man in January 2016, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Los Angeles Superior Court today, and was sentenced to 21 years in prison.
Monroy Sentenced to 21 Years for 2016 Newhall Murder
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has appointed Joseph Hedges to the position of Chief Operating Officer and Pamela Mizukami as Chief Deputy Director of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
Brown Expands High-Speed Rail Exec Team to Move Project Forward
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reports that influenza activity has declined over the last two weeks; however, activity is still widespread and higher than peak levels observed during recent seasons.
Flu Outbreak Eases in L.A. County, But Still Widespread
The Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District has appointed Brittany Kruczynski as the new Director of Fiscal Services.
Kruczynski Named Hart District Fiscal Services Director
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies were out in force stepping up enforcement of pedestrian and bicycle safety laws and issued 69 citations to drivers Wednesday, but none to pedestrians.
SCV Deputies’ Pedestrian, Bike Safety Push Nets 69 Citations
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued a statement calling out Acting Director Mick Mulvaney of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for requesting a total of $0 for the agency's second-quarter budget.
State AG: ‘Trump Officials Treat Consumer Financial Protection as a Joke’
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold its next Regular Meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 6 p.m.
Jan. 23: City Council Regular Meeting
Amazon announced its list of top 20 finalists for their new headquarters Thursday, and the Los Angeles area -- including the Santa Clarita Valley -- was named among them.
LA, Including SCV’s Newhall Ranch, In the Running for Amazon’s HQ2
1967 - Original airing of Star Trek "Arena" Episode: Kirk battles the Gorn commander (Saugus resident Bobby Clark) at Vasquez Rocks [watch]
In an exciting conclusion of events, approximately 40 inmates who participated in the Education Based Incarceration program received either a high school diploma or certificate of completion for vocational training.
Largest Class of Inmates in Education Based Incarceration Program Graduates
The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency (SCV Water) has selected its inaugural leadership to preside over the launch of the newly formed water provider.
SCV Water Selects Inaugural Leadership
Well V-205, located near McBean Parkway and Valencia Blvd., was voluntarily removed from service in April 2012 when perchlorate was detected in low concentrations, below the Detection Level for Reporting (DLR).
Perchlorate at Out-of-Service Well Reaches Actionable Level
The Santa Clarita City Council will consider purchasing the 4,598-square-foot building Roger Dunn Golf Shop building in Newhall when the council meets next week.
City Eyeing Purchase of Roger Dunn Building
Here are the Santa Clarita arts-related events for Jan. 20 and Jan. 25:
Jan. 20, 25: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
Following in the footsteps of her grandfather, dad, mom and several other family members, Erin Oxhorn-Gilpin always wanted to be a teacher.
CSUN Alumna Nabs Teacher of the Year
Legendary Band, "The Chieftains," will celebrate their 55th Anniversary with a performance at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (SCPAC), Saturday, Feb. 24, at 8:00 p.m.
Feb. 24: The Chieftains 55th Anniversary Tour
SEATTLE - Amazon reviewed 238 proposals from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to host HQ2, the company’s second headquarters in North America.
Los Angeles on Short List of Amazon’s HQ2
The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District Board of Directors will hold its Regular Meeting Friday at 11:30 a.m.
Jan. 19: SCV Sanitation District Regular Meeting
Kevin Young has been selected as the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) 2018 Katie Jacobson Writer-in-Residence. Young will conduct workshops with CalArts students in the MFA Creative Writing Program and present public readings, which will be held at CalArts on Feb. 15 at 7:00 p.m. and at REDCAT in Downtown Los Angeles on Feb. 16 at 8:30 p.m.
The New Yorker’s Poetry Editor Selected as CalArts 2018 Writer-in-Residence
LOS ANGELES – The County Interim Health Officer is issuing a Cold Weather Alert due to the National Weather Service’s forecast for low temperatures. Wind chill temperatures are expected to be below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Affected areas include:
Cold Weather Alert Issued for SCV
Here is the Valencia Crime Information and Public Safety report for the week of Jan. 1:
Crime Blotter: Shoplifting, Burglary, Grand Theft Auto in Valencia
Here is the Saugus (Zone 4) Public Safety and Crime Prevention Information for the week of Jan. 8:
Crime Blotter: Burglary, Grand Theft Auto in Saugus
Here is the Stevenson Ranch (Zone 3) Public Safety and Crime Information Report for the week of Jan. 8:
Crime Blotter: Attempted Robbery, Grand Theft Auto, Burglary in Stevenson Ranch
Here is the Newhall (Zone 6) Public Safety and Crime Prevention Information for the week of Jan. 8:
Crime Blotter: Commercial Burglary, Vehicle Burglary, Grand Theft in Newhall
1899 - Martin & Richard Wood buy J.H. Tolfree's Saugus Eating House, rename it Saugus Cafe [story]
The dismantling of a multi-state drug trafficking organization that used the U.S. Postal Service to mail packages of crystal methamphetamine and marijuana from California to traffickers in Pennsylvania since at least April 2016 - and the arrests of five leaders who spearheaded the corrupt organization, including two from the Santa Clarita Valley - were announced Wednesday by Montgomery County (Penn.) District Attorney Kevin R. Steele.
2 from SCV Netted in Major East Coast Drug Bust