5 tips for hiking with your dog
Hiking is not only a great activity for both you and your pup, but it also spices up your normal walking routine. However, hiking requires more preparation than a simple walk around the block. This adventurous activity is a great way to bond and spend quality time with your dog and in most cases, pup's love spending time on the trail. If you’ve never hiked with your fur baby before, check out these 5 tips for hiking with your dog.
1. Build up your dog's stamina
If you are contemplating taking a dog for his first hike, you should check and build his stamina. Walking on the trail can't compare with the walk around the block, so both of you should prepare physically.
Consider the age and the shape your dog is in and start increasing the distance of your daily walks. By doing this, you will build yours and your dog's stamina and get both of you ready for more exertion on the trail.
Furthermore, if you plan to buy a backpack for your dog, be sure to teach him how to wear one. Start by placing the empty backpack on him while he is around the house to let him get familiar with the feel of it on his back.
Once he feels comfortable, add weight and let him wear it during your regular walks. Keep in mind that the weight of your dog's pack can't be more than 1/3 of his body weight.
2. Pack food and water for both of you
If you plan to spend all day on the trail you should pack enough food that will fuel both of you. Remember that a dog will spend more energy on the trail than on a typical day at home, so bring enough calorie dense foods. Dry dog food may be a good choice because of its portability.
Make sure to bring plenty of water! During hot days, dogs are at higher risk of getting heat strokes so make frequent breaks and keep him hydrated. A dry nose is a sign of dehydration, so make a stop right away to give water and try to cool him down.
3. Research the trail
Not all national parks and forests have the same rules and regulations, so you should research the ones in the area you are going to hike. In most cases, national parks don't allow dogs on their trails, but many national forests do, so long as the dog is kept on a leash.
4. Safety comes first
Once you are on a trail, it can take up to several hours to bring your pooch to the vet if something happens, so take precautions regarding his safety and well-being.
Check if your dog's vaccinations are up to date and apply an effective tick protection prior to going hiking. You should also bring a first aid kit in case his paw is lacerated or has any other injury.
Doggy boots are a great way to keep the paw pads protected against thorns and small branches present on the trail. Since it may be a long hike, bring an extra pair in case your dog loses a boot somewhere along the way.
5. Be aware of your surroundings
Getting up close and personal with wildlife has its downfalls so watch out for any dangerous things your dog might ingest. It is best to stay away from usual suspects like mushrooms, squirrels, skunks or anything else that makes you wary.
Although poisonous ivy won't affect dogs, they can easily pass the poison to people, so be careful. You shouldn't let your fur baby drink water from any streams and lakes since they may contain various parasites that can wreak havoc on a dog's body.
There is no better way to spend quality time with a man’s best friend than taking him for a hike. Hitting the trail can be a fun and memorable adventure if you come well prepared!