Safety and Emergencies

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

  • 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.
  • Be sure to always start and end services properly through Time to Pet at each pick-up and drop-off so that the Dog Adventures Northwest has a timestamped GPS pin of your location in the event of emergency.
  • If you are going to be anywhere remote, be sure to let Dog Adventures Northwest know of your intended destination so that you can be found in the event of emergency.
  • 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, and spare water.
  • 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.
  • At minimum, an unrestrained dog is a significant distraction while driving. In the event of a serious accident, an unrestrained dog becomes a deadly projectile. Develop a safe restraint system for all dogs in your car, not just for their safety, but for yours. 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. If you do not have a safe restraint system in your car, you may not take dogs out with Dog Adventures Northwest.

The safety of animals in Dog Adventures Northwest's care is also very 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 with the use of tethers or crates. 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, 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.
  • Fit every off-leash dog with a Garmin GPS tracker, and make sure the handheld unit is charged and linked to every collar before taking a dog off-leash.
  • 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.
  • 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 Giardia 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). While it is highly unlikely that a dog on an Adventure will take a bite of an infected fish, we take the possibility of salmon poisoning very seriously. In the event that a dog does ingest any part of a fish while out on an Adventure, please secure all dogs away from the fish, take a photo for future identification, and hike in a different direction. Please then notify clients to watch out for signs of infection (decreased appetite, lethargy, weight loss, vomiting, and diarrhea), in which case they should take their animal to the vet for antibiotics and a dewormer. Fortunately, salmon poisoning has clear symptoms and is highly treatable with proper care.


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
  • 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