Pets on Cedar Mesa

StipulationsCedar Mesa Pictograph

Pets are not allowed in the following canyons and their tributaries: Grand Gulch, Slickhorn Canyon, and Point Lookout Canyon.  In addition, pets are not allowed in the McLoyd Canyon/Moonhouse Ruin Recreation Management Zone. 

  • All pets must be collared, leashed, and under human control at all times.

  • Pets are not allowed in or at any alcoves, rock art sites, or ruins.  The instinctual habits of dogs to run, climb, chew, dig, and defecate at random can be extremely damaging to cultural sites.

  • Pets must not harass or harm wildlife.  Wild animals have a very tenuous hold on life.  The extra energy expended in fear of a possible or perceived predator can tip the balance between life and death.

  • Pets must not harass visitors and other visitors' pets.  Remember, some folks are very leery of dogs, no matter how friendly the dog may be.

  • Pets are not allowed to swim or play in springs, potholes, or other natural water sources.  Desert canyon and mesa water sources are priceless and must be maintained as pristine as possible for the health of humans and wildlife.

  • Pets are not allowed to bark incessantly.  Sounds carry far in the canyons.  Solitude and quiet are very important to most canyon hikers.  If your pet is noisy, you may miss much of the canyon experience yourself.

  • Pet waste must be buried in a shallow hole away from trails, campsites, cultural sites, and natural water sources.  Burying the waste helps reduce the smell and discourages flies.  Leave no trace!

Safety Tips

Keep your pet on a leash and near you.  Leashes protect your pet from getting lost or getting into dangerous hiking situations.  They can also protect your pet from porcupines, mountain lions, snakes, and other dogs.  As an added benefit, a leashed dog's keen senses can enhance your awareness of nearby wildlife or other hikers.

Avoid hiking with your pet in terrain you have not hiked before.  Know the potential hazards of the hike before you take your pet.  Be aware and conscientious of your pet's hiking ability.  Just because your loyal friend will follow you anywhere does not mean that anywhere is safe for your loyal friend.

Pause to care for paws.  Your pet's feet are its lifeline in the backcountry.  Check regularly for burrs or cactus spines that may get caught in paws.  Watch for worn paws due to hiking on slickrock.  Carry pet "booties" to slip over and protect damaged paws.  You don't want to be carrying your dog out of the canyon!

Avoid hiking with your pet in extreme heat.  A dog's natural body temperature is higher than a human's, making dogs much more susceptible to heat exhaustion.  The slickrock and sand can quickly burn the pads of your dog's paws, which can be very painful and dangerous in the back country.

Carry enough water for you and your pet.  When hiking in the desert, water sources can be few, far, and unreliable.  Carry at least as much water for your pet as you would for yourself and don't forget to carry a lightweight water bowl.

Pets are susceptible to water borne bacteria, including giardia.  During and after your trip, watch for signs of intestinal distress.

Carry a pet first aid kit.  Your veterinarian can give you advice on what to include.  Many pet supply stores and catalogs offer ready-made kits for sale.

Pre-trip conditioning:  Like you, your pet needs to be in good shape for your hike.  Before doing an extended hike, it is important to take your dog on several shorter training hikes.  Watch for signs of fatigue, and rest when needed. 

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