Safety and Emergencies

The safety of Dog Adventures Northwest Contractors is absolutely essential. Contractors are asked to keep the following things in mind when engaging in work for Dog Adventures Northwest.

  • Carry a car safety kit with jumper cables, flares or reflective markers, a cell phone charger, chains, a flashlight, an emergency whistle, a large first aid kit, spare water, and spare car keys.
  • When out on the trail, carry a charged cell phone, water, layers for cold/rain, sunscreen for sunny days, a citronella spray such as SprayShield, and a small first aid kit.
  • Always be sure to let at least one person know of your intended adventure destination so that you can be found in the event of emergency. (DANW is happy to be this person for you!)
  • Do not ever hesitate to leave a situation that feels unsafe when interacting with a client and/or in a client's home.
  • Do not engage in arguments with any person you meet while on the trail. Work to de-escalate all conflicts and leave the area as quickly as possible.
  • Do not use your cell phone for texting or emailing while you are driving unless you have voice-activated controls.

The safety of animals in Dog Adventures Northwest's care is also vitally important. Contractors are asked to keep the following things in mind when caring for animals as a representative of Dog Adventures Northwest.

  • All Dog Adventures Northwest Contractors are required to take an animal first aid course every three years. Both VCA Northwest Animal Specialists and Dove Lewis have free classes that are offered periodically. (Note that because they are free and attendance is limited, they fill up quickly.) There are other fee-based online options as well.
  • Transport the client dog to and from the Adventure location safely, through the use of tethers or crates. Dogs must not be loose in cars, even if they are separated from the driver by grating. To learn more about dog restraint in cars, please read the following three links: Best Dog Harnesses for Car Travel: Crash-Tested & Safety Certified (K9 of Mine); We Need to Talk About Keeping Dogs Safe in Cars (Outside Magazine); Center for Pet Safety Certified Products. At no point should a dog be able to exit a vehicle of their own volition when a car door is opened. At no point, whether the car is stationary or moving, should car windows be open wide enough to permit any part of a dog’s body to be outside of the vehicle. If you do not have a safe restraint system in your car, you may not take dogs out with Dog Adventures Northwest.
  • Fit every off-leash dog with a Garmin GPS tracker, and make sure the handheld unit is linked to every collar and has a suitable charge before taking a dog off-leash. Consider back-up safety measures such as bear bells, Apple AirTags in waterproof cases, lights, and additional ID tags. For a full outline of how to use and maintain Garmin equipment, please see the Garmin Guide section of the Contractor Portal.
  • Bailey Cook, 4.21.24: A little note on the bear bells… I have personally used these on my dogs several times while hiking in Montana (we run into much scarier wildlife out there… bears and mountain goats in particular). They are annoying for the first 5-10 minutes but pretty quickly my brain tunes them out. My poodle is very sound sensitive and he adapted very well to the bells. I just treated him and praised him for the first few minutes and he quickly ignored them. That being said, I didn’t clip the bells to collars, nor would I advise doing that. Instead I clipped them to the back clip of their ruffwear harnesses. I attached an example video of how loud they were on the trails (hoping it sends correctly). I personally will never go hiking anywhere with more dangerous wildlife without them. One of my groups had a coyote run in a few weeks back and I believe they would have scared the coyotes off long before we saw them  I personally am very pro bear bells. We would have found Sedona so much quicker had she had something noisy on, we passed right by her so many times.
  • For dogs whose recalls have not been proofed, dogs must either drag a long line or be tethered to the trainer with a long-line or a leash. Please also only bring new dogs to known property/trails.
  • Mindy Cook, 4.21.24: I also want to mention that while we think we know many of our pups, they go through many changes throughout adolescence and then social maturity along with whatever changes they have had at home, vet visits, etc. I always assume that a young adolescent pups behavior may change from adventure to adventure and then often see changes with them during social maturity. Typically social maturity comes with changes on how they may feel about other pups, play etc. I always discuss changes I see with guardians, both positive and negative and they usually have similar experiences. If guardians are home on pick up, I always ask how their pup has been the last week and try to build a really solid relationship so they are open and honest about anything that has been going on so I can watch for things on adventure.
  • U.b. Kelly, 4.21.24: These are things I definitely also take into account for new pack members: Absolutely always a location I know super well. I need reliable service on the entire hike. I need it to be a trail that is relatively easy. No drop offs, wash outs, large bodies of water etc. I also will not drive as far with a new pup - I’m known to have upwards of an hour of travel if it’s a pack that can do car time well, but if there is a new kid, we keep travel short. 
  • Be sure to confirm that every animal is allergy-free by checking the pet's Time to Pet profile. In the event of basic food allergies, please supply an alternate treat. For complex allergies, the client can supply treats for their animal.
  • Bring the following supplies on all adventures: high-value treats, bags for waste disposal, a leash for every dog, collar identification for every dog, a charged cell phone, citronella spray such as SprayShield, a small first aid kit, and fresh water when water is not readily available or is unsafe for the dogs to drink.
  • Anticipate altercations before they happen. Carefully observe social situations and the body language of all animals in your care to ensure that all dogs are feeling safe and secure. Do not hesitate to leave any situation that feels unsafe for whatever reason.
  • Take the following precautions when leaving dogs in vehicles during pick-up and drop-offs on hot or cold days:
  • For outside temperatures between 70 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, dogs can be left in a locked vehicle with all windows open a minimum of three inches for no more than ten minutes; no car can be parked in direct sunlight; in the event that shaded parking is not available, all windows receiving direct sunlight must have reflective shades.
  • For outside temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, dogs can be left in a locked and running vehicle for no more than ten minutes with the air conditioning or heat on (Contractors will have a second set of keys.)
  • All dogs will be kept away from car controls via a secure a grate, crates, tethers, and/or dog restraint systems.
  • All dogs will have access to water to drink.
  • A sign will be left in the window, listing the conditions inside the car, the Contractor's estimated time away from the car, and the Contractor's cell phone number.
  • If a Contractor does not have air conditioning or heat in their vehicle, they will make specific and alternate plans with the client and the Dog Adventures Northwest Manager. Modifications may include meeting the client at the door if they are home at pick-up and drop-off; ensuring that dogs who live in downtown apartment buildings are the first pick-up and the last drop-off; bringing the dogs who are already in the Contractor's vehicle into the client's backyard while the Contractor is picking up or dropping off a dog; heating/cooling pads; reflective window coverings; extended screened windows; fans; and remote temperature monitoring. Note that brachycephalic dogs, puppies, and geriatric dogs, as well as those with dark and/or heavy coats, very short hair, and/or various medical conditions can be even more sensitive to temperatures and therefore may require additional precautions and closer attention.
  • Giardia is a microscopic, contagious parasite common in the Pacific Northwest. It causes the gastrointestinal illness known as giardiasis, resulting in diarrhea and vomiting. Giardia cysts can live for many months in the water and soil, as long as it is relatively cool and wet. Cysts are acquired from fecal-contaminated water, food, objects, or self-grooming. While Giardia is common and very treatable with medication, it is highly contagious in dogs and no fun for anyone. Dogs exhibiting symptoms of frequent vomiting or diarrhea will not be allowed to adventure with Dog Adventures Northwest LLC until they have received a clear fecal test from their vet and have been thoroughly bathed.
  • We are starting to see a rise of both fleas and ticks in the Pacific Northwest. Contractors are encouraged to add gloves and tweezers to their kits, and do regular once-overs of dogs in their care. Note that preventative flea and tick medication is required for all Boarding reservations.
  • Salmon poisoning is caused by a bacteria/parasite combo that can infect wild fish found in coastal streams of the Pacific Northwest (primarily salmon and some kinds of trout and salamanders). We take the possibility of salmon poisoning very seriously. In the event of finding a dead fish on the beach, please immediately call all dogs away from the animal's location. If it is safe to do so, secure the dogs away from the fish and take a photo for future identification. Please also email with the location of the animal so that others can avoid the area. If any dog has had any potential physical contact with a dead fish or any kind, notify Dog Adventures Northwest admin. Please also notify clients to watch out for signs of salmon poisoning or other infections or parasites (decreased appetite, lethargy, weight loss, vomiting, and diarrhea), so that they can take their dog to the vet for testing and treatment.


Information from the Oregon Health Authority

Cyanobacteria are beneficial bacteria found in all freshwater, worldwide. Under the right conditions—when weather, sunlight, water temperature, nutrients and water chemistry are ideal—cyanobacteria can multiply into blooms in any water body. Many blooms are harmless, but some can produce cyanotoxins that make people and animals sick.

Exposure to cyanotoxins occurs when water is swallowed while swimming, or when water droplets are inhaled during high-speed activities such as water-skiing or wakeboarding. Symptoms of exposure to cyanotoxins include diarrhea, cramps, vomiting, numbness, dizziness and fainting. Although cyanotoxins are not absorbed through the skin, people with sensitive skin can develop a red, raised rash when wading, playing, or swimming in or around a bloom.

Children and pets are particularly sensitive to illness because of their size and activity levels. Dogs can get extremely ill and even die within minutes to hours of exposure to cyanotoxins by drinking the water, licking their fur, or eating the toxins from floating mats or dried crust along the shore. Similar to dogs, livestock and wildlife can become ill and die after drinking from waterbodies, troughs or other sources of drinking water affected by blooms and potential toxins.

Only a fraction of freshwater bodies in Oregon are monitored for cyanotoxins. For this reason, it is important for people to visually observe any water body they choose to recreate in before taking the plunge.

OHA recommends that everyone stay out of water that looks foamy, scummy, thick like pea-green or blue-green paint, or where brownish-red mats are present. If you are unsure, follow OHA’s guidance of “When in doubt, stay out.”

Open recreational areas where blooms are identified can still be enjoyed for activities such as camping, hiking, biking, picnicking and bird watching. By being aware of signs of a bloom and taking appropriate precautions to reduce or eliminate your exposure, you can also enjoy water activities such as canoeing, fishing and boating, as long as speeds do not create excessive water spray, and fish are cleaned appropriately.

To learn if an advisory has been issued or lifted for a specific water body, visit the Harmful Algae Bloom website or call the Oregon Public Health Division toll-free information line at 877-290-6767.

[Kerry's addition: Cyanobacteria does not reside in deep and fast-moving areas of rivers. Keep this in mind when choosing your adventure location. Check out this PDF for helpful visuals of what is and what is not cyanobacteria.]

Grass Awns

Dog Adventures Northwest had a botanist walk the property in 2023, who confirmed that there are almost no foxtails or cheatgrass at Base Camp. Most of it is in the old parking area in front of the barn. Nevertheless, please don't get lax about your post-adventure body check! Regular grass seeds/awns can cause a good deal of irritation. Whether you adventure at Base Camp or somewhere else, please check paw pads, ears, eyes, armpits, and groins for things like ticks, twigs, grass seeds/awns, and anything else that might cause irritation. (This is especially important when the grass goes to seed!) Additionally, give their bodies a quick once over to loosen any debris, and do a sweep for the same items. Some tools as well as tick repellent is available for everyone to use at Base Camp, but if you adventure elsewhere, please be prepared!


Shared by Cyrus Heiduska 4.28.23. Thank you, Cyrus!

If you hike in the woods, be careful because our little yellow striped buddies have come out of hibernation. I have actual ptsd hearing any sort of bee or horsefly type hum flying around me, after getting swarmed badly by yellow jackets on two different adventures. One of my 3-day-a-week client dogs was terrified of returning to the place where she got stung so badly, so I had to change my entire adventure plan so she wouldn’t freak out and bolt. It took her a year to get over it.

From the research I’ve done, it’s not easy to repel them. Your best bet is to avoid stepping on their ground level buried nests.

Wasp spray works to kill them, but it is also extremely harmful to dogs and to you, so you really don’t want to spray it around you in a cloud. It is meant for spraying directly into a nest, while they’re sleeping. Instead, carry a spray bottle of diluted dish soap! The soap clogs their breathing pores.

You can supposedly use various essential oils to deter them, but I don’t think it works that well. I use a recipe of diluted peppermint, lemongrass, geranium, clove, and thyme oils, and I apply it to my hat, pants ankles, my pits, wrist sweatbands, and the middle of my back where the backpack rides, because body heat and sweat spread out our aromas to the air.

I just got a can of “Maggies Farm Flying Insect Killer” to try this season, it was at Fred Meyer. It’s basically the same essential oil blend but in an aerosol spray can. It says “safe for use around children and pets”. It doesn’t claim anything about wasps, only mosquitoes and flies, but it’s something that might help to spray if you’re worried and not yet under attack.

Both times I got swarmed, we had trodden on an in ground nest. Completely invisible, no warning signs. Where they like to nest is in areas of undisturbed dry dirt, pine needles, dry leaves, among the woods. So your best bet to avoid them is to stay on a well trodden path, or open exposed field, or creek bed. Don’t go off trail into the dry woods.

If you get caught, run. Run away fast, calling your dogs to run with you. Leave behind anything you dropped, go back for it later without the dogs. Don’t stop running until you can’t hear them chasing you anymore. Of course you’ll try to swipe away any yellow jackets that are on you, but be gentle! If you crush them, they release a pheromone that signals all the other yellow jackets to attack.

They cling stubbornly onto dog fur, and they don’t die when they sting, they just sting more, the madder they get. You will be tempted to help the dogs by brushing them off, but be gentle, and don’t stop to do that until you’re a long way away from the nest. I used a stick to try to flick them off the dogs, trying not to kill the bugs or poke/hit the dog. Keep checking each dog over and over, because invariably several more of the bastards will have gone under the fur or in hard to see spots, and reveal themselves later.

Carry Benadryl! It will reduce the risk of anaphylactic shock for anyone who’s actually allergic to the stings, and it will reduce irritation and swelling for everyone. 25 mg of Benadryl per 25 lbs of dog. There is legal risk in medicating someone else’s dog, but there’s also risk in failing to do so. Every time I have told a client that I gave Benadryl following a sting, the parents were appreciative. We’ve had several individual stings apart from the two swarms.

I hope this helps. Bee safe out there!

  • Administer basic first aid to stabilize the animal. Remember that the sole purpose of first aid is address any problems that threaten the animal's health while in transit to a professional. Do not attempt to "fix" anything.
  • Call the client. If the animal is stabilized, call the client's cell phone, tell them what happened, and let them know you would like to seek medical care. If there is an issue that can be resolved by the animal's own vet, a client may prefer this option, as they already have a relationship with their own vet, and the care will likely be significantly less costly. Allow the client to call the shots, if there is time to do so.
  • Seek professional care. All vet information is stored in the animal's Time to Pet profile. Phone numbers and addresses of area emergency animal hospitals are below. Whether taking the animal to their own vet or to an emergency care facility, be sure to CALL AHEAD to make sure they are ready for your arrival.
  • Call/text the Dog Adventures Northwest Manager. The Dog Adventures Northwest Manager can help with phone calls to vets and/or clients, and can help you follow all emergency procedures.
  • Do not discuss finances or insurance with clients. Please leave all financial discussions for the Dog Adventures Northwest Manager. When speaking with the client, only discuss the immediate needs of the animal and a client's preference for care. If the client wishes to discuss money or the Dog Adventures Northwest waiver, ask them to contact the Dog Adventures Northwest Manager. 


All Contractors must have the following numbers and addresses readily accessible while caring for animals with Dog Adventures Northwest:

  • Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital (24-hour emergency care)
    1945 NW Pettygrove Street, Portland
    (503) 228.7281
  • VCA Southeast Portland Animal Hospital (24-hour emergency care)
    13830 SE Stark Street, Portland
    (503) 255-8139
  • VCA Northwest Veterinary Specialists (24-hour emergency care)
    16756 SE 82nd Drive, Clackamas
    (503) 656-3999
  • BluePearl Pet Hospital (24-hour emergency care)
    2030 NE 42nd Ave,Portland 
  • Tanasbourne Veterinary Emergency (24-hour emergency care)
    2338 NW Amberbrook Drive, Beaverton
    (503) 629-5800
  • Emergency Veterinary Clinic of Tualatin
    8250 SW Tonka Street, Tualatin
    (503) 691-7922
  • ASPCA Poison Control Hotline
    (888) 426-4435
  • Pet Poison Helpline
    (800) 213-6680