Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
sad2
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Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby sad2 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:03 pm

I've always wondered...

Do dogs get altitude sickness?

Does one need to take precautions when attempting a 14er with a pet?

Hydration, acclimating, etc...

Just curious.
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14erFred
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby 14erFred » Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:53 pm

Evidently, the answer is "yes"...

http://gazetteoutthere.blogspot.com/2007/02/dogs-get-altitude-sickness.html

I wonder what the highest peak ever climbed by a dog is?
"Live as on a mountain." -- Marcus Aurelius
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pnolans
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby pnolans » Sat Sep 19, 2009 4:14 am

Check out
"Best hikes with Dogs Colorado", Ania Savage

It's published by The Mountaineers Books, the same guys who publish "Freedom of the Hills"...

The short answer, according to them, is that dogs can get altitude sickness, dehydration, even GIARDIA!

So, definitely hydrate him/her.

I've kind of eased my dog, Taz, into it. He seems to do very well. and seems to enjoy it immensely.
"Hey Queen Isabella,
stay away from that fella
He'll just get you into trouble, you know"
Common Sense John Prine
huricnz
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby huricnz » Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:00 am

Unfortunately dogs do get altitude sickness just like we humans. Just about everytime I climb, my Yorkshire Terrier goes with me on my climbs. He is small enough to carry should something happen which makes him a great climbing companion. Yesterday he climbed Crestone Peak with me and has been exhibiting signs of altitude sickness (lethargy, vomiting, etc.). The problem with dogs and altitude sickness is that when they feel badly, they tend not to eat or DRINK which is entirely counter-productive. Therefore on the way home and when I got home, I force fed him water and Pedialyte with a syringe in order to help rehydrate him. Can be a real pain but is very effective..
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Trail Doc
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby Trail Doc » Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:44 am

My dog's first 14er experience was Tabeguache from Brown's lake. At about 12.5 he vomited and at about 13,000 he declared himself by stopping and barking uncontrollably. As with many dogs he's fiercely loyal and would follow me to the end of the earth regardless of how he felt, but that was his limit. We carried him down, which wasn't tough since he's all of 18 pounds. We did learn that trip if we keep him leashed on the way up then it keeps him from running too far ahead then back, and saves his energy for further up the mountain. If the trail's not too busy we'll take him off lead on the way down. On a later trip he did very well on Greys and Torreys, but did slow down quite a bit close to the summit of the second peak.
If I wanted a sport with rules, I'd be playing golf.
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14erFred
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby 14erFred » Sat Sep 19, 2009 2:19 pm

Concerning the highest point on earth a dog has ever climbed under its own power -- evidently, a dog named Deep Fry reached 22,700 ft. on the north side of Everest on a joint American-Canadian expedition during the autumn of 2001...

http://www.k2news.com/aed17.htm

Must have been a "ruff-ruff" climb. :D
"Live as on a mountain." -- Marcus Aurelius
sad2
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby sad2 » Sat Sep 19, 2009 3:22 pm

great

thanks for the replies everyone.
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duneclimber
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby duneclimber » Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:44 pm

Has anybody brought their "bigger dog" up a 14er? I'm hiking Quandry in a week and want to bring my 3 year old Husky/Lab mix. He's always been a great hiker, and I've had him up to 12,600' with no problems. I understand carrying him down would be difficult if he got sick. I think he'd make it though no problem.
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. ~John Muir
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edhaman
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby edhaman » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:21 pm

An important point about dogs: they can't tell you if they are feeling bad, and often don't show symptoms of a problem until it gets to a serious state.
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mattpayne11
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby mattpayne11 » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:23 pm

Good to know edhaman. I know that I've taken my dog up one mountain and that was enough for me to realize it was not a good fit for me or my dog. It certainly is a personal choice to do so. I've always wondered if dogs get altitude sickness, and always assumed that they did.
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Snowgirl
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby Snowgirl » Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:20 pm

Bringing a dog is a fairly big responsibility, as an owner/guardian it is on you to know the limits of your dog and when to turn around. If I bring my dog with me on hikes (75 lb Bernese Mountain Dog), I follow several key safety precautions.
1. I know where she is at all times. If she's off-leash, she's in my sight. She's leashed when regulated (wilderness areas) and when there may be distractions (old mines, mountain goats). If your dog does not reliably recall, you could be courting disaster.
2. I hike with someone else. I know that I, personally, could not carry her down if something happened. I could with a partner, however, or I could get help. I would NEVER, EVER push the "emergency" button on my Spot for a dog rescue, but my contacts know that if they respond to the "Help" signal while I'm on-trail it may mean that Taiga is in trouble.
3. I have a dog first aid kit, and I know how to use it. Mine includes Vetwrap, thermometer, cloth tape, hydration salts, high-energy treats, and anti-inflammatory medication specially formulated for dogs and prescribed for her through my vet.
4. Dog boots made for the rough rocks of the 14ers do a LOT to help prevent any serious injury in the first place-- most commonly sore, bleeding paws.
5. Weather is key. Dogs can only release heat by panting (inefficient at best) and through their paws (very inefficient). Imagine wearing a fur coat and not being able to sweat, and suddenly a 70* day and sun can be quite miserable. I have a coat for Tai that keeps her cool by using evaporative cooling, but usually I aim for alpine ascents in the summer or wait until late spring/early fall to climb with her. Very light-colored dogs with a thin coat can get sunburned, esp. on their noses.
6. As someone has already pointed out, most dogs will go to their very limits physically just to follow you up a mountain. Being able to see even the smallest change in behavior can be the key to preventing a larger issue. The mountains will be there tomorrow, next year, etc.
7. Water, water, water, WATER. Safe, clean water packed from home is best. Dogs can catch the same parasites and illnesses from bad drinking water as we can. I usually bring 3-4 liters of water and have extra waiting in the car for the ride back.
8. I know when to leave her at home. While I love climbing with her, and she loves the mountains, it's better to be able to enjoy the harder climbs without the added worry of my pet.
Happy trails!
Such things for example as the grasp of a child's hand in your own, the flavor of an apple, the embrace of a friend or lover...sunlight on rock and leaves, the feel of music, the bark of a tree, the abrasion of granite and sand, the plunge of clear water into a pool, the face of the wind--- what else is there? What else do we need?
--Edward Abbey
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coloradokevin
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby coloradokevin » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:11 am

While it is probably true that any animal will be impacted by altitude, I think dogs are generally less prone to elevation related problems than we are. I agree with Kevin in saying that you need to watch your dogs carefully for signs of dehydration. Also, be sure that you don't push your dog too hard... if they are dragging on the way up, they'll probably be worse by the time you come down.

My dog has been up six 14'ers with me, and she has handled them all fairly well. But, she's got a thick coat, and I don't generally take her on climbs during periods of extremely hot weather. And, just as with people, dogs may require some physical conditioning before tackling a big climb.

But, among our differences, dogs seem to be far more efficient at processing oxygen than we are. I've seen estimates stating that a dog's VO2 Max is roughly 3 times that of a top-tier human athlete. While that may not be the only factor affecting performance at altitude, it certainly gives them an edge on us!

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