Summer is upon us

With these gorgeous summer days upon us, we’re enjoying long hikes in the shade at Sibley Volcanic Preserve and Graham trail in Redwood Park.  I always pack extra water for the pups, as well as Ocusoft, an eye rinse in case of dust or foxtails in the eyes and tweezers, just in case anyone picks up a tick on the trails.

In my experience, I’ve always got to choose between poison oak exposure or foxtails.  Foxtails are the seed pods of wild rye and wheat (thank you conquistadors for your cattle who imported these wild grasses in their stomaches.) Foxtails have very sharp points that easily penetrate the nose, ears, and often skin on the pads of our poor pups feet.  Just yesterday one of the pups had 5! foxtails extracted from his ear.  Foxtail extraction has to be done by the vet and generally costs about $500.

Poison oak on the other hand, doesn’t affect dogs at all. For us humans, it’s another matter entirely.  I’ve had to be hospitalized for poison oak exposure, thankfully though, not since childhood. A good thorough rinse in cold water within an hour of exposure should rinse it all off.  You don’t need any products.  For the pups, I mist them after each hike with a white vinegar/water mixture and I recommend that my clients add white vinegar to a box of baby wipes and wipe down their dog before snuggle time.