Hiking is a wonderful way to bond with your pet and get some exercise. Many dog breeds love to hike and wander through nature for hours at their human companion's side. However, there are a few things you should think about before you decide to take your dog along for your next hike. Make sure you consider the following issues to ensure that you and your dog are able to make the most out of your next outdoor adventure.
Pick Trails You Can Both Hike Easily
You shouldn't just consider your own endurance levels while hiking with a dog. You have to remember that they have different levels of endurance as well. Remember to take it easy. Dogs need to get used to hiking, just like humans. Start off with a short trail, and work your way up toward greater adventures together.
Wear the Right Gear
Protect your dog's paws on a hike by getting them some hiking booties. Dog shoes will ensure that the pads on their paws aren't torn during the hike, and it will give them a stronger grip on any rocky terrain. Make sure they wear a fitted harness, not a collar or chain. Tackle flea and tick prevention before you go, and make sure to bring your own water bowl. Dogs shouldn't drink from rivers or ponds, which may contain bacteria that can cause serious illnesses.
Look for shady spots, and wear sunscreen and a protective hat to block your face from the sun. Don't forget to pack antiperspirant or deodorant if the weather is hot. Staying cool doesn't just help prevent you from getting sunburned. It also can lower the amount of water you lose and reduce the risk of dehydration and exhaustion. Make sure that you check the weather forecast beforehand so you can see if you need to bring extra things to make sure you stay cool on your hike.
It’s important to make sure that both you and your dog are comfortable when hiking and that you don’t overexert yourselves. This can be an especially big problem on days with hotter weather. Dogs can't sweat to regulate their body temperature, so make sure you keep a close eye on your furry friend to ensure they aren't overheating. If it's too hot out for you to hike comfortably, it's definitely too hot for them. Take regular breaks to make sure that you are both comfortable and to evaluate if it’s time to turn back.
Check the Rules
Some parks may require dog owners to take specific routes or avoid certain areas. You should also always clean up after your pet's waste. It may seem like a part of nature, but dog poop can contaminate the local ecosystem and infect wildlife. Make sure to keep a good supply of dog poop bags on hand so you can be prepared if your dog needs to go to the bathroom while you’re on your hike.
Hiking with your dog can be an incredibly fun activity for both you and your dog, but it’s important to make sure that you are adequately prepared so you can both have a good experience. These tips will keep you and your dog safe and happy as you learn how to hike together.