If you’re traveling with dogs and visiting Colorado Springs, Colorado and are considering riding in the park to the top of Pike’s Peak with your dog, it may be a good idea to consider some of these tips before taking your dog for a walk.
Dogs can also gain altitude
Just like in humans, altitude sickness in dogs is quite common, especially at altitudes above 8000 ‘.
The altitude of Pikes Peak is 14, 115 ‘and people and dogs will feel the difference in the atmosphere – especially if they get stronger at all. We took a few of our dogs up Pike Peak – some of them under the age of 14 – and none of them had any problems.
Our former veterinarian in Salida, Colorado, assured us that there are very few dangers for taking healthy dogs to the top of Colorado’s “fourteen” (which are mountains higher than 14.0000 ‘).
Here are some tips to prevent altitude sickness in dogs and how to react if they show symptoms.
Use good judgment if you are climbing a 14-year-old with a dog
If you are planning to walk to the top of four people with your dog, this is a completely different question. To prepare for such a trip, you need to make sure you drink plenty of water (for you and your dog) and plan to protect their feet with some trails. They may not need them elsewhere, but they are not ordinary paths. Sharp rocks and screes found near mountain peaks can be extremely sharp and dangerous for a dog’s feet.
We saw several dogs in distress on the tops of the Fourteen in Colorado – including Mount Tabeguache – and one with bloody foot pads. It broke our hearts when we realized that then this poor dog had to take him back down the mountain on sick and bleeding paws. We offered the dog’s companion gauze and tape from our first aid kit. He didn’t expect his dog’s legs to tear, as they did.
The dog’s owner felt horrible, and he finished halfway, carrying his large dog on the long journey back to the trail. As a climber of several fourteen people, we believe that many of them are not always the safest places for dogs due to unpredictable and often inhospitable conditions, as well as dangerous climbing conditions such as falling rocks and screes. If you are planning to climb a cyclist from Colorado, use good judgment and plan your trip carefully with resources like those found at 14’er.com
If you are planning to take your dog to the top of Pikes Peak with a vehicle, here are some tips:
If you go up Pikes Peak with your dog
Make sure your dog is properly hydrated and well rested before reaching the top. Dehydration and altitude sickness go hand in hand in both humans and dogs. Don’t let them walk and play on top. (Dogs should be brought to the park at all times.) Do not lead dogs to the top of Pike Peak if they have breathing or heart disease. If your dog begins to develop altitude sickness and shows telltale symptoms such as vomiting, difficulty breathing, or strange behavior, return immediately down the mountain. If you are just arriving in Colorado, you need to allow you and your dog to adapt to higher altitudes. If you come from a much lower altitude – say Texas or Oklahoma – plan to spend a few days in Colorado Springs at 6000 ‘before climbing Pike Peak. UV rays are extremely strong at 14 115 ‘, so consider whether your pet wears glasses or other protective eyes for dogs with high UV blocking. Prolonged exposure to high-altitude ultraviolet rays is thought to be a factor in dogs developing a condition known as pannus, which is an immune-mediated condition that affects the cornea.
Things to watch out for
If your dog begins to show any of these symptoms of canine altitude sickness when it is at high altitude, you should immediately start going down and seek veterinary help if necessary.
Excessive shortness of breath Confusing behavior Stumbling or falling Swelling in legs and / or face Vomiting Cough High heart rate Lethargy or inability to move.
Watch out for wildlife, cars and dropouts
On top of Pikes Peak there are squirrels, marmots, mountain goats and other wildlife that your dog may try to chase. There are also steep falls that could be fatal to humans and dogs. Car traffic can be quite heavy in the summer, so be careful when crossing the top. Remember to keep your dog a leash at all times.
What to do if your dog gets Pikes Peak
If your dog is suffering from a medical crisis, alert a park attendant or ranger and let them know what’s going on. They may be able to help with some help, as they have most likely been dealing with dogs that have symptoms of altitude sickness. They will most likely instruct you to start going down the mountain and seek veterinary help for your dog.
The nearest veterinarians to Pikes Peak (or park entrance) are at Woodland Veterinary Clinic (tel. 719-687-1060) in Woodland Park, CO and Compassionate Animal Hospital (719-687-6000), also located in Woodland Park.
Enjoy climbing Pikes Peak with your dog and safe travel!