Hiking with your dog can be a memorable experience for both of you.Your four-legged friend’s energy and joy might motivate you to take your hike further than ever before.
But it’s important to remember that your dog is still an animal, so there are safety measures you should take. Precautions that will ensure that you, your pet, and other people all have a safe hike. Keep reading to learn how to have a fun and safe hike with your four-legged friend.
Obey All Leash Laws When Hiking With Your Dog
While it’s nice to think that our dogs will bring happiness to anyone they meet on a trial, that isn’t always true. There are a lot of hikers that are scared of dogs, or even other dogs who might act aggressively towards your pup. While your dog might love running around leash-free, there are many reasons why this isn’t a good idea.
Before you hike, do research to make sure you aren’t breaking any leash laws on the trail. You should know that most dogs aren’t allowed in most National Parks, and those trails that allow dogs require you to keep your pup on a leash under six feet of length.
If you do not follow these rules, you could face fines, which could ruin what would’ve been a fun-filled day.
There are many trails that do have designated off-leash areas. These areas are great for dogs that can respond to voice commands. Just make sure you are honest with yourself about your dog’s training.
For example, if your pup only responds to your voice fifty percent of the time, he is not under voice command. If you let your dog off of its leash and it runs out of sight, your dog could be off causing damage, running into some unwelcome wildlife, or getting in the way of a mountain biker.
Pick Up After Your Pet
Sure, picking up after your dog is never pleasant. But on a trail this is vital, and not only to keep other people’s shoes clean. Dog excrement has levels of bacteria that are can disrupt local wildlife, groundwater supplies, and native habitats.
Many trials make this easier with stations for dog stool bags, but not all trails have this feature. You also can’t rely on these stations to be stocked with bags when you get there.
You should always be ready with your own bags any time you take your dog on a trail. There are even portable doggie bags and doggie bag containers that attach directly on your leash.
When you dispose of your dog’s waste, you want to be respectful of the environment and put these bags in a lidded trash can. If you’re camping, you will want to make sure that you leave your pet’s waste at least 200 feet away from the campsite.
Bring Enough Water and Food for Two
Anytime you go on a long hike that requires you to bring food and water, don’t forget about your dog. Since dogs don’t sweat like humans do, and have fur coats, they have a higher risk of overheating.
Sure, you don’t need food and water for a walk around the block with your dog. But anytime you go on a hike you will want to bring plenty of liquids for both you and your dog. You should also bring a collapsible dish to pour some water out for your dog.
If it’s really hot, you’ll want to supplement your dog’s water with lightelectrolyte fluid, like Pedialyte.
You will also want to make sure that your dog doesn’t slurp up standing water or ingests too much saltwater. Standing water could have a ton of parasites, bacteria, and algae that can make your dog super sick. While saltwater can cause dehydration and diarrhea.
You will also want to bring some dog treats for your pup. These treats will keep your dog’s energy levels up after a long hike.
If your pet went on a strenuous hike, you will also want to give them a little more dinner at night. This will help your dog recover and also helps prevent any sickness or injury. Just like you need calories to stay energized, so does your dog.
Make Sure Your Dog Is Fit For The Trail
It’s really important that you make sure your dog can handle the trail. Be aware that very old and very young dogs can’t handle the same trail length and intensity as other dogs.
You’ll want to be respectful of any limits that your dog has, and be sure not to push your pup to the point of exhaustion. If you are unsure about how much is too much for your dog, you should talk to your vet.
If you notice while hiking that your dog is intensely panting, lying down, or foaming at the mouth, your dog needs to cool down immediately. Slow down your pace, and turn around if possible.
Just like humans, dogs can lose or gain fitness. If your dog is used to short winter walks around your snowy block, it’s going to be hard for your pup to suddenly hike ten miles with you in the spring. You’ll want to gradually build up the hike’s distance and intensity for your dog.
Keep An Eye Out For Anything Your Dog Ingests
Another thing you want to keep an eye out for on the trail is anything your dog tries to ingest. Hikes are fraught with other dog poop, cattails, mushrooms, random socks, and pinecones. Some of these items can be very dangerous and even deadly, so keep a close eye on your dog.
If your dog is chewing on something, you will want to make sure that you figure out what your dog is ingesting. If it looks dangerous, take some of it with you to show your vet.
This is very important when it comes to mushrooms and plants. Which is why you want to keep your dog on a leash.
Have A Safe Hike With Your Dog!
Now that you have these safety tips for hiking with your dog, plan your hike today. Hikes can be a great experience for your pup, as long as you stay safe. For more doggy tips, check out our blog!