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Hiking is a fun activity and it is even more exciting when it is done with your dog. Your dog may be your best friend and your buddy at home, but he would be more than happy to become your hiking partner as well.
Dogs love getting some good exercise. Hiking provides him with the perfect opportunity to exert his muscles, push his legs and enjoy the nature. Besides, hiking together can ensure that the two of you get some quality time together, play a bit, and strengthen your bond with each other.
Before setting off on an adventure though, you need to ensure that the following considerations are met.
Not all dogs are fit to be taken on a hike. Your dog might be eager to go and might be extremely playful and energetic otherwise, but going on a hike with barely sufficient resting spots in between, on rough, unknown terrain, and in unknown weather conditions is another ballgame altogether. A visit to the vet must be made, where your vet can assure you whether you dog are fine and fit to make the challenging journey up the mountains. If there are issues, they can be pointed out and treated and all precautions taken before setting off on the hike.
Some might know this but not all breeds of dogs are hikers. Some (like the pug and boxers) are not made for such rigorous exercise and might not be the best companions on a hike. If you have a short-muzzled dog, it would be best to leave him behind while you hike.
Dogs are supposed to poop outside, so why bother picking it up when you are out in the nature? Absolutely not. You aren’t supposed to leave your dog’s business in the middle of a hiking trail to pollute the area and for people to step into. As a dog parent, it is your responsibility to clean up after your pet. You must always pick up his poop and discard it responsibly in a bin nearby. Make sure to take along dog waste bags, and keep them handy. Do not throw the bags into the forests and mountains. Rather, keep them with you till you can find a place to get rid of it in an ethical manner.
This goes without saying but pack up everything you dog might need on the hiking trip. This includes sufficient fresh water, and food. Though there may be fresh water streams that your dog can drink from when travelling, do keep your own too.
Hiking is a rigorous task and could dehydrate your dog, especially during the summers. You must always have water to quench his thirst and always have some kibble to satisfy his hunger and keep his energy high for the rest of the trip.
Mountains are treacherous places. You need to be very careful when hiking climbing up jagged rocks, crossing heavy streams and travelling uphill. Not only can you sustain minor injuries along the way, there are also of course no clinics and hospitals on the way to help you.
You need to be your own doctor and your dog’s vet. Never forget to pack a first aid box when going on a hike with your dog. Keep ointments, band aids, bandage wraps, and other supplies so that you can take care of small injuries until you can reach a hospital. If your dog cuts his paw on a sharp edge, you can bandage it up and stop the bleeding and ease his pain till you return and take him to a vet. Never leave a cut or scrap untreated, as it might get infected.
Dogs tend to get overexcited when outside. Make sure to keep your dog on a leash at all times to prevent him from running off where he shouldn’t. Not only would you be protecting other hikers, other animals and wildlife but you would also be protecting your own dog from hurting himself. Keep a tight hold of his leash as you go so he stays on the path like a good boy and does not stray where he doesn’t belong. There are hiking trail etiquettes that you must read up on and follow at all times. Not all trails are dog-friendly, and those that are also have a few rules that you must adhere to, lest you and your dog become a pest to someone else enjoying their hike.
You might encounter several different species of life on your way up. Exotic birds, animals and unselects who call the mountain their home. Remember, you are merely passing through, while they live here. Make every effort possible to not disturb the wildlife in any way and do not interfere in their business. Keep your dog in check too as dogs can get excited at the sight of other animals and birds. Take care of the wildlife. It is your duty to.
Hiking is fun when done in the right environment. However, now even hiking trails and mountains are excessively littered and dirty and the wildlife is quickly receding. We must do everything in our power to save our mountains, our wildlife and our planet before it is too late.
Thankfully, there are organizations that are working to save these places, clean them up and restore them to their former glory. Donate generously to them and do your part in saving the trails. Raise awareness for the mountains by hiking with your dog for a cause.