I once saw a guy from Oakland put himself and his St. Bernard in a tough situation on the Lost Coast Trail. Fortunately they made it out with nothing more than some encouraging words, the minimal peace of mind of a borrowed cell phone, and some good decisions. They rested overnight, cut their trip short, and detoured to smoother terrain. Barring a properly equipped team to carry it, a St. Bernard that won't budge might as well be an elephant. Meanwhile, my lab happily made it through the Lost Coast trip with enthusiasm leftover to go peakbagging on the way home. Rangers mention that many dogs paws have suffered there.
jcsesica wrote:...he said this happens all too often every summer...he said they didn't usually do anything.
^^^It will continue to happen, but it can't hurt to keep putting the word out.
jcsesica wrote:I run my lab daily 1-2 miles on a gravel road to condition his paws and have never had a problem, even on hikes as long as 15-20 miles.
^^^That's a great tip to pass along. My dogs do well on hikes in the 20 mile range with rough, rocky sections, as long as I have been getting them out regularly beforehand on rougher surfaces than grass, smooth sidewalks, and soft dirt. The harsher the terrain will be on the hike, the more conditioning is needed going in (if rough conditions aren't part of a daily routine). I find that the dogs' paws usually need a rest day/easy day after long hikes in rough terrain, especially if scrambling was involved. Steep downhill, scrambling, and/or trails with long, rocky sections are best avoided if I suspect paws will be/are already sore. Sometimes, more than one day in easier terrain is needed after a tough outing. Multiple days in a row of moderate distances (+/-10 miles) without much rough terrain or scrambling has never been a problem with mine, but I have rarely let them become significantly unconditioned. My dogs don't like booties, have torn some up quickly if I managed to keep them on, and climb better without them. Most of the same things that help a hike go well for humans apply to dogs with foot and heat considerations amplified. The signs and communication of potential problems are usually there if one is reading the language.