A dog lost in the woods.
Getting lost in a dog in an unfamiliar place is one of the biggest fears of any pet owner. For us, this is a constant concern – although over the years we have traveled thousands of miles with our various members of the package. We’ve had a few close calls and learned some things from our past mistakes, but we should always keep reminding ourselves not to leave our guards and to calm down as we travel to a new place with our dogs.
Here are some of the strategies we use to ensure that we protect our babies from fur so that they do not get lost while traveling.
Follow a routine and keep them attached
If you are traveling, hiking or camping with your dog, the novelty of your destination can make you deviate from your usual routine with your pet. It only takes one fake move to lose your dog while on vacation. Maybe you’ve just forgotten that your usual routine has always been to put your dog’s leash in the car before unloading it, or maybe you’ve felt comfortable at your campsite and decided to let them get out on the leash for just a moment. Although your dog knows it has not always had the best seizure.
In the woods, anything can distract your dog and send them away from the sight of the heart. Although they may remember great at home, they may not be where you traveled, especially if your dog has never seen a deer, moose, coyote or flying squirrel Rocky.
When we lived in Salida, Colorado, we wandered a lot on sections of the Colorado Trail and found several lost dogs that had separated from their owners. We even saw a group of horse riders almost break away from their riders as the tourist’s dog outside the leash – which had probably never seen horses – ran among them, cutting off their legs.
Just because you think your dog will behave wonderfully and remember on command while you’re on the trail, doesn’t necessarily mean it will. Stop and think about the possibility of your beloved dog getting lost in the 250,000-acre desert before you even think about letting them get away.
Get a quality collar with your dog’s identification embroidered on it
Your dog should never walk without wearing a collar with their identification labels attached, along with the rabies vaccination label. Unfortunately, there are some animal control agencies that will euthanize a dog in just a few days if they do not have a rabies label attached to their collar. Your pet’s identification tag should include your most current cell phone number (area code), your dog’s address and name, and an alternate phone number such as a babysitter or veterinarian, and any medical conditions.
Labels may fall off, so make sure they are attached with sturdy rings to secure stainless steel dogs, and don’t use large ones that can attach to objects and catch your pet. To add another layer of safety, we recommend that you purchase a sturdy plastic collar with your pet’s name and phone number on it, just in case the labels are removed. Also, phone numbers on collars are easier to read from a distance if your dog becomes capricious or if the person who finds them is wary of getting too close.
If your dog has any problems that you want someone to be aware of, such as deafness, blindness, canine aggression, etc., there is a “Bark Notes” collar made by a company called Canine Friendly, which are made of strong silicone and which are slide over the strap of your dog’s collar. Lulu Belle is wearing one in the photo below, above her collar, on which her name and phone number are embroidered.
Deaf dogs can’t hear you calling
Do not trust fences
If you are staying at Airbnb or another rental while traveling (see our Airbnb’s dog tips tips posting post), be sure to check your host’s fencing situation before letting your dog get in your yard. . We found quite weak places and holes in the fences of the yard in some of the places where we stayed. What the host may describe as a “safe fenced yard” may not be appropriate for your own dog.
Do not tie or chain your dog!
Responsible dog owners would never tie him up or tie him up and leave him unattended. We have to mention this because not everyone is so responsible (or thoughtful) and we have seen too many dogs tied to chains or ties in campsites. Many dogs die every year when irresponsible owners leave them tied up, which can lead to strangulation if they become entangled in a chain or rope. If you see this practice while camping, please let the park host know.
Consider getting a GPS Tracker for pets
An example of how the application of a device shows the location of your dog.
One way to help find your dog if they get lost while traveling or camping is to use a dog GPS locator attached to their collar. Object search devices, such as the Tile Mate key finder, simply won’t work to find your dog in the woods. We have experimented with them, and they work only a few meters. By the time your alert is updated, your dog will probably be long gone. We use a GPS dog tracker called Whistle Go Explore, but it only works where there is a cell phone signal.
When it comes to GPS pet finders, there are two main types. We will look at this topic in more detail in the next post, but basically your options are the following:
The two main categories of GPS trackers for dogs
Tracking dogs that use GPS and mobile phone networks. These tracking dogs require a monthly or annual subscription plan (usually around $ 8 per month) and send your dog’s location on their network via a cell phone signal. Whistle Go Explore and FitBark trackers use mobile phone technology. You can use an app on your phone to see where your dog is at any time, with restrictions. Some GPS dog trackers allow you to have a two-way conversation with anyone who finds your dog.
The disadvantage of them, apart from the monthly subscription fee, is that you may not have a cell phone signal in very remote camping places, which makes tracking dogs basically useless in many places off the beaten track.
Tracking dogs that use GPS and short distance radio signals. These dog searchers do not use mobile phone networks and do not require a subscription. Instead, they use a short-range radio signal, along with a hand-held display, to help you find your dog. PetFon, SportDog and Findster Duo are tracking dogs that use this type of technology.
The downside is that if your pet is out of range or if the signal is limited by obstacles such as trees or hills, they may not work. The advantage is that these trackers will work in remote areas where there is no signal from a mobile phone. Most have a range of up to 3 miles, but the SportDOG models run up to 10 miles under ideal conditions. The range varies considerably depending on the terrain.
What Type of GPS Tracker for Dogs Should You Choose?
If you are going to travel mostly off the beaten track and camping on BLM land and in the National Forests, where cell phone reception is spotty, then a radio tracker is probably your best bet. If you can afford it, SportDOG or other brands with a larger range are hard to beat. Just keep in mind that if your dog is out of range, you will no longer be able to track them.
If you are going to be camping just off the beaten track, where there is usually a cell phone reception, you should probably choose a GPS dog tracker that uses cell phone networks to track your dog. They are quite cheap and you may be able to walk month by month and activate your tracker only when you go on holiday.
Keep in mind that not all of these mobile GPS cellular dog trackers use the same networks on corporate phones. Before you get one, find out which network (Verizon, ATT, etc.) works best for where you will spend the most time, and then choose a good model that uses this network for mobile phones.
Neither type of GPS dog tracker will work if you forget to load it. Check the battery life and make sure they are charged before you go on a trip with your dogs.
Stevie Ray on a section of the Colorado Trail
Use lighted dog collars at night
In addition to keeping your dog (and you) safe while walking, a lighted dog collar is a great thing to have when camping or hiking with your dog at night. If your pet really separates from you at night, you can easily spot them from a distance. These LED collars are available in a USB rechargeable and battery powered version. We like the battery versions because they usually have a longer operating time.
Lost deaf dogs can’t hear you calling them
We recently had an accident while camping with our deaf dog, Lulu Bell. In the middle of the night, she somehow managed to get out of the tent by unbuttoning the flap. We looked at her to see her, and frantically started looking for the campsite at two o’clock in the morning. We found Lulu Bell visiting the campsite next door, where fortunately one of the campers was still awake and offering her treats while their friend was outside looking for their owners.
Now, when we camp with our dogs, we always keep an LED collar on both of them at night – even while we sleep – so we can immediately know where they are in the tent. The soft glow that the collars radiate also helps as a night light. We already have a habit of keeping the zipper on our tent well above the level of access for puppies.
These are our suggestions for protecting your dog from losing camping or hiking. Please feel free to share your own tips on how to protect your dog while traveling.