If your dog loves exercise and you enjoy the great outdoors, why not combine these two passions and take your dog on a hike? Here are some tips for taking your dog hiking and making it a safe and enjoyable experience.
Bring the Right Items
Before you go hiking with your dog, make sure you are bringing the right items. Being prepared is essential any time you go hiking but especially if you bring your furry friend along. Your dog should have a loose dog leash and not a retractable one. Their dog collar should be sturdy and have proper identification. It is also a good idea to put a bandanna or jacket on your dog with bright colors. Bring along extra bottled water and a small bowl for your dog to drink it out of. Also bring some snacks for you and your dog to munch on. Also have some bags for picking up dog waste, as well as first aid supplies.
Protect Your Dog
When you are planning on hiking with your dog, you are putting it at risk for ticks, fleas, and other parasites. Ticks are a big risk with hiking trails, so make sure you have a good flea and tick treatment on the dog, or use a repellent. It is a good idea to ring bug repellent that is safe to use on dogs. Also make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations to protect them against the many dangers they could come across.
Follow the Rules and Regulations
Every hiking trail has rules in regard to what you can and can't do, and that includes dog-friendly trails. First of all, dogs are not allowed in all areas, so make sure you read the signs and know what trails you can bring your dog on. Next, be sure your dog is always on a leash. Even if your dog does great without one, this is often a park rule, and even if it is not, it will keep them safe. Don't use a leash that is too long, since it can snag on trees and bushes. You want a nice sturdy leash that you can easily control. Also keep a close eye on your dog and its behavior. Clean up after your dog when it goes potty and be careful to avoid other people and dogs that you pass on the trail.
General Hiking Tips
When you start your hike, keep a close eye out for oak, sumac, and poison ivy, as these can all cause illness and discomfort for your dog. Look out for small critters like snakes, rabbits, and porcupines. They don't all attack dogs, but your dogs might lose control when it sees one. Also look for larger animals, such as coyotes and bears. Give your dog a lot of walking breaks, stopping in the shade for water and the occasional snack if you are on a longer hike.
If you aren't sure whether or not your dog can physically handle a hike, get it examined by a vet from a clinic like Babylon Animal Hospital before you go. Also visit your vet if your dog is showing suspicious behavior or habits following the hike.