40% of the Italian population live in company of a pet, who for many people represents a member of the family. In order to prevent the problem of abandoning pets in summer, and to ensure that visitors can enjoy a holiday that is ideal for “puppies” as well, Cortina confirms its pet-friendly vocation and welcomes four-legged guests, offering a number of services.
Just like us, our dogs need to be ready to face a holiday in the mountains. Undoubtedly, our four-legged friends will be happy to follow us, but we have to remember that it will be challenging for them, just as for us.
Here is some advice on getting your pets ready for the holidays! 

Our recommendations

  1. Check-up at the vet: it is essential that the dog is in good health, above all as regards the cardiovascular system. In addition, the dog should have an updated vaccination certificate, which should be taken with you, documenting the treatments for heartworm and leishmaniasis, and the anti-parasite treatments for fleas and ticks (which are present in large numbers in the mountains).
  2. Take care with rapid changes in altitude: dogs, like people, may suffer from a change in altitude, with vomiting, nausea and distress, and so they should be allowed to become accustomed to it gradually, above all when using cableways. During an excursion, if you see that your dog is tired, with laboured breathing or a cough, it is advisable to stop and give the dog time to recover.
  3. Food: like us, our four-legged friends need to have a sufficient intake of energy. In addition, remember that they have a slower digestive system than ours, and so for this reason it is important to feed them at least 3 hours before starting a walk, or delay their feed to the evening once you have returned home. 

What should we put in the backpack?

Water and bowl: sources of fresh water are not always present on routes, and in any case, it is preferable that a dog drinks only when streams and water troughs are clean and uncontaminated by bacteria that could provoke gastro-intestinal problems.
Cloth or towel: these can be useful if dogs want to dive into a stream to cool off, and then you have to dry them. 
Ropes and a few carabiners: in the case of danger, if dogs head down a steep slope and are not able to climb back up, this equipment may enable you to help them. 
Snacks and biscuits: in moderation. It should be remembered that dogs have a slow digestion, and if they eat during a trip, they may become even more fatigued. For this reason, it is best if they eat just a few dog biscuits or high-energy snacks. 

Collar: this should be of the right size, not too tight, but neither too loose, so that there is no risk of it slipping off or catching on something. It is advisable to use special, robust, solidly-built chest harnesses with emergency handles that can be used to hold the dog safely, possibly with lights or reflective strips useful when walking after dusk. If the trip includes the use of cableways, it is also mandatory to bring a muzzle as well. 
Lead: as for the other items, it is important to choose a strong material, perhaps opting for an extendable leash that gives the dog more freedom of movement. However, it is important to keep a good grip on the lead, because if dropped, it could rapidly rewind and strike the dog from behind, also causing sudden noises which could frighten it. 
Biodegradable plastic bags or scooper: to remove the dog’s fouling. Even though it is very tempting to leave it in the forest, it should not be forgotten that dog’s excrement could contain parasites dangerous for wild animals (above all mustelids and canids) and cause the death of beech martens, foxes, badgers, weasels, wolves and bears. A dog’s excrement should therefore always be collected, above all for health reasons. 
First aid kit: there could be dangers in the mountains even for dogs. They could be injured, cut, stung by an insect, or find themselves in various types of difficult circumstances. The first aid kit should therefore comprise: oxygenated water to disinfect cuts, vial of hydrocortisone with syringes, or hydrocortisone tablets, wet wipes, round-tipped scissors to trim fur around wounds, bandages, gauzes, tweezers to remove foreign bodies or ticks, and a small dog sock to protect paws if they have been injured. 
Waterproof rain jacket: there are special types for use in the mountains, providing protection in the case of a storm and preventing the dog from having to continue the walk completely soaked, with the risk of it getting cold. 

Walking with a dog in the mountains is pleasant and exciting, and enables both dog and owner to experience moments of freedom, far removed from the city where space and rules are often limiting. However, it should not be forgotten that even for high-altitude trips, there are rules for the safety of both yourselves and other hikers.

Before heading out into the mountains with a dog, the owner should seek information on the regulations and prohibitions in the respective area. For example, in some natural areas, dogs are not allowed at all in order to protect the local fauna; in other locations, using a muzzle is mandatory; in some areas, it is possible to let your dog off the leash, as long as it behaves well and is not aggressive. In any case, owners should ensure that their dogs comply with the normal rules of canine education, such as coming when called, obeying the instruction to “stay”, and not disturbing other hikers who could be afraid of dogs. Lastly, if the itinerary includes the use of cableways, it is possible to bring your dog as long as it is held on a leash and has a muzzle (just as on public transport). Our four-legged friends can also accompany their owners on a chair-lift, as long as they can be easily carried, thus ensuring their complete safety.

Regulation of the Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites

Useful Numbers

Associate veterinary study Doctors Siorpaes and Frison: the vet surgery and emergency has also a first aid for lost dogs. In case of emergency contact them immediately, providing a description of your pet and all the useful elements for recognition.
Telephone + 39 0436 5798.
Pet grooming Splendy Dog: Self Service washing and Grooming by reservation. A Dog-Sitting service is also available.
Telephone +39 335 6371419
Pet Area at La Cooperativa di Cortina: wide assortment of articles for animals and specialist staff. Home delivery service is also available.
Telephone + 39 0436 874251