Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

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

Postby SharonH » Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:03 am

I started my border collie Sophie on the road to trail dogdom almost as soon as I got her. Even your doggie basics such as learning how to tolerate a collar and leash and walking increasingly longer distances all factor in. I would always bring snacks and her portable water bowl to keep her motivated and not have to turn back just because she was hungry or thirsty. I have a wooded area next to my property, so she has learned to go potty in tall grass--a great skill as she will now go off trail to potty.

Make sure your pup has all his shots before going out; there is a giardia shot for dogs which I highly recommend. It is very difficult to keep them from drinking out of streams. Also, puppy kindergarden is a great way to socialize your pup with other dogs and learn basic commands. If you want to have your dog off-leash when hiking (where allowed), it is imperative that they come to you on command. "Leave it" is a great command to keep them away from things, whether it be something gross on the trail, or birds/wildlife. I am a firm believer in spay/neuter. Especially with male dogs, neutering will tone down the aggression level. Make sure your dog is always wearing a collar and ID tags; also micro-chip your dog for extra assurance in case their collar slips off.

Sophie was exposed to snow at an early age (she was born in February); now on trails she prefers the snow to the dirt trail. Make playing in the snow (or water) a game. Unfortunately, she never got to like the water; her first attempts at stream crossing involved a lot of whining and balking. Now she will cross streams--the way she jumps across even larger streams, I do not think her paws even get wet. Getting her across the logjam on the trail to Snowmass this past summer was a bit of a challenge though.

Sophie was about 10 weeks old for her first (car) camping trip. I did bring along a small travel crate to have at the campsite and in the tent in case she needed it.

I think one of the main motivators for Sophie was having enthusiastic adult trail dogs with her. We camped and hiked with my brother's two border collies and Sophie was always trying to keep up with them--still is for that matter.

Good luck with your new dog! Having a dog with you on the trail is amazing: great companionship and no "are we there yet?" Since my son has gone away to college, Sophie goes on all my hikes with me and I never get lonely or bored.
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby dubsho3000 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:36 am

Two words: Search Function
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Derek
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby Derek » Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:17 pm

Fletch wrote:Little Ranger just showed up last week (much to the chagrin of my sleeping habits) and im wondering at what point I can safely take him up into the mountains. He is a 10 week old Golden Retriever puppy and weighs 18 pounds already. He's going to be a hog.

Do you have any idea on when to start your dog on hikes up in the mountains? Plus (with other dogs Ive climbed with), im careful to bring water, and make sure I can carry him down if need be, etc. But is there any info out there where there's a "training program" or something similar so we can get going soon?


I have a 12 week old lab mix that I can't wait to get to the mountains either. I had heard before that you should keep them from doing anything TOO strenous for the first year, so I figure I'll hold off any "real" mountain trips until late next summer. Although I have been taking him up short hikes like Dinosaur Ridge and Jeffco OS trails just to get him used to the trail type atmosphere. Seems like the issue of hiking too much when young was with the bone development? Not sure though...

--Derek
"I used to think my Dad was Elvis. But I haven't told him that yet. I haven't told my Dad either." -S. Murdoch
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SharonH
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby SharonH » Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:31 pm

Sophie was 5 months old when she climbed her first 14er, Pikes Peak. We stayed at Barr Camp so the most she hiked in one day was 12 miles. She did not start wearing a pack until she was well over a year old though.
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JTOlson26
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby JTOlson26 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:29 pm

duneclimber wrote: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.


I had a black lab for years and years that went on every hike and adventure my dad and I did. He never showed any symptoms of altitude sickness but i am sure it varies by dog.
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby picklenest » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:06 pm

I took my dogs (lab and german shepherd) to Mt Evans. We drove to the top, so they weren't having to climb at all. At the top we walked around a bit, and they were whimpering a lot, and seemed uneasy. They did drink water but wouldn't eat. I hadn't thought about altitude sickness, but I know that's why they were whining. I grew up at sea level, and I'm new to hiking/mountain climbing. I will leave the dogs at home from now on, because I will not be able to carry them several miles back to safety on other peaks.
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby PattyCakes » Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:00 pm

My dog Rocky is 5 year old and he's been to 23 different 14ner summits. Rocky has never had any problems with altitude sickness. Its not that big of a deal! All you need is -

1. Makes sure he gets a big dinner the night before.
2. Bring plenty of water for your dog and yourself. 4 liters is good.
3. If in the winter put a little bit of vaseline in there paws. To keep snow build up.
4. Keep and eye on him or her.
5. Know 100% sure the route your taking. You dont want to get off coures with your dog.
6. Have a fun time! If you are having fun then they will to!
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby heretowreakhavoc » Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:08 pm

I strongly doubt it... My 4-1/2 year old Golden Retriever has seen 14,000 feet 52 times and has never been anything but tired, but that's usually on the second or third day in a row of climbing. The comment before mine mentioned feeding the dog a big meal. WRONG, WRONG AND WRONG! Dogs don't digest their food until the next day. Feed your animals "normally" the day before and just give them enough to take the "edge" off in the morning. I have been around the training of hunting dogs for a long time. Be safe out there.
flatlander51
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby flatlander51 » Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:37 pm

Wow, there is so much misinformation and unsubstantiated opinions on this forum, I can't believe it. I just can't hold back any longer. I am a practicing veterinarian with 27 years experience and I would say your best bet is to talk to your vet before attempting ANY type of physical exertion with your dog. Any dog needs to be in good physical condition before attempting a 14er, just as you would have to be. Dogs are NOT superhuman! They experience the same things we do - sore muscles, tired feet, shortness of breath and, yes, altitude sickness. They just can't tell us when these things bother them. It is up to us as their caretakers to be able to recognize if and when our dogs are experiencing any difficulty. Dogs have about the same PCV and hemoglobin content as humans, so they do not have a special ability to carry oxygen in their bloodstream. When they pant excessively, due to being too hot or too tired, they blow off CO2 and can become alkalotic. The person who said dogs don't digest their meals until the next day is totally wrong. Digestion begins immediately. The key here is, would you eat a 7 course meal just before attempting a 14er? NO! So don't do it to your dog, either. Exercise your dog and increase the duration gradually building up its stamina and muscle mass. And lastly, carry a first aid kit and know basic first aid for your dog. Remember to take it easy and pay close attention to your dog's demeanor. You are your dog's idol and he looks up to you. He would do anything to please you, even if it's to his own detriment. So please, take it easy and be safe with your furry friends. They will love you even more if you do.
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bonehead
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby bonehead » Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:02 pm

flatlander51 wrote:even if it's to his own detriment

You refer to the dog as a Male.
Are you some sort of a sexist?
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby SolarAlex » Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:15 pm

i dont know why but that made me laugh hysterically
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bonehead
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Re: Do dogs gets altitude sickness?

Postby bonehead » Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:41 am

silverlynx wrote:Any animal taken out of its regular environment is going to be affected one way or another though.

I hope we're still talking about dogs?

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