Dogs are man’s best friend. And for a fun outdoor adventure like hiking, there’s no one else who can join you better than your pet! However, hiking with dogs isn’t only about fun and games. You also must consider giving your furry buddy a comfortable experience. More than the physical benefits of the trip, you also must keep in mind that the trail may be new territory for your pet. So, to keep the experience fun for them and you, here are nine quick tips on how you can plan a hike before hitting the trail with your dog.
Think about your pet’s physical condition
Before setting out, make sure you know your pet’s physical condition. Visit a vet and ask the doctor if your pet is suitable to take the trip. There might be conditions that could prohibit your dog from enjoying the outdoors.
If this is your dog’s first hike, you can take them out for short walks days before the trip so that their bodies can adjust to the upcoming adventure.
If your dog has a particular condition yet is fit to hike, be sure to bring the necessary medications in case of any emergency.
Select a dog-friendly hiking trail
Choosing a dog-friendly hiking trail is one of the crucial decisions you’ll make for this adventure.
Most parks are open to having pets within their property, but there are ones that don’t allow your four-legged friends to join you. In that case, you’ll have to do some research on whether the trail you want to visit allows dogs.
Parks that allow fur babies often have trails that aren’t terrible for their paws. They’re also welcome inside national forests, but it’s best to check ahead to avoid disappointment.
Keep your dog on a leash
We can’t expect everyone we meet along the trail to be friendly with dogs. Some might be scared, and others might not be comfortable having to share the track with a dog. But even if that’s the case, don’t be discouraged. If the trail is open to dogs, so whether they like it or not, they must accept that they might encounter a couple of pets during the hike.
Now, as a sign of mutual respect for other hikers, you have to keep your dog on a leash. It’s best if you can control the movements of your pet. It’s for your peace of mind as well. Besides, dogs are naturally adventurous. So, you don’t want them to be running straight into a restricted area where you can find other wildlife creatures.
Carry enough food and water
Don’t forget to bring them food and water. You can even pack your dog’s treats to encourage them to continue with the hike. Some breeds are lazy and can tire quickly, so help them finish the walk by providing them proper nutrition and hydration.
Unlike humans, dogs don’t have sweat glands. So, if you want to avoid overheating, water is the answer. There are collapsible water bottles available for your pets in the market. It’s convenient and doesn’t add up to the weight of your already bulky backpack.
Consider bringing trekking poles
We consider trekking poles as one of the best items to bring when hiking. They don’t just help you with balance; they also keep your knees and legs protected from any possible wear and tear.
When you hike with your dog, a trekking pole could give you that extra stability. Your one hand might be busy pulling and tugging on your dog’s leash, but at least you have a stick on the other hand that could help you stay upright.
Bring a first-aid kit
Don’t forget to bring a first-aid kit. As naturally active creatures, dogs are prone to minor accidents. You don’t have to carry a whole bag of dog-specific kits. You only need a small pack of basic first aid like bandages, antiseptic solutions, paw creams, medications, and other necessary items.
While we hope to keep them safe from any harm or injury, it’s always best to be ready, especially for unforeseen events.
Clean up after your pet
Walking the dogs is something that folks associate with peeing and dumping. There is likely a big chance that they will do the number two while you’re on the trail.
Now, you must understand that you share the park with everybody else. Your dog is your responsibility, so cleaning up after them is your task and nobody else’s.
Take extra precautions during hunting season
You may want to give your dog a brightly colored vest during the hunting season to avoid any accidents. Also, it’s best to provide them with loud identifications so that hunters won’t be mistaken.
It’s a precautionary measure that we’re sure you’d be happy to take, especially so you can keep your dog safe and comfortable. Nonetheless, the best thing you can do is to stay away from hiking trails during hunting season.
Check for ticks after hitting the trail with your dog
Ticks are often found outdoors. However, if your dog doesn’t usually spend time outdoors, and the hike is their first time, make sure to check for ticks right after the trip. You don’t want to wait a couple of days to check for anything.
Ticks and fleas are notorious carriers of diseases that could jeopardize the health of your furry friend. So don’t take any chances.
Hitting the trail with your dog could be the highlight of their life. Make sure that you keep them happy throughout the trip and carefully judge if you need to stop and take a break.
Dogs are the best companions in the world. So, the ultimate rule that you should carry on this trip is to keep them happy!