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There are few things that are likely to bring you the kind of happiness that comes with spending the day with your canine buddy, like hiking with your dog. While we’re sure they love being a couch potato as much as you do, change things up a bit and plan for a day of hiking. The fresh air and exercise will do you both a great deal of good.
Read on as we share some top tips so you and your dog can have the perfect day out!
Respect the leash
If you’re a dog parent who thinks their dog is the source of unconditional joy, you’re probably right. You might be wrong, however, in assuming that everyone around you sees them in the same light.
The fact is, not all people are fond of animals, let alone dogs. There can be any number of reasons as to why this is. Perhaps someone is allergic to dogs, and another is simply frightened because they were attacked by one in the past and it makes for a traumatic memory.
What’s important for you to know is this: when you bring your dog outdoors, put them on a leash. You know how excited they can get just by being outside, and how they have the tendency to jump at random strangers. The latter may even result in you being told to “take a hike, Mike!” No, that’s definitely not the kind of hike you had in mind.
There’s a reason dogs aren’t permitted in a lot of national parks, and why it’s against the law at most dog-friendly trails to have a leash that’s six feet or shorter.
Do yourself a favor by reading up on the rules of specific hiking trails so you don’t have to incur heavy fines and risk putting a damper on an otherwise perfect day.
Be sure to pack enough food
We understand you and your dog are beyond excited to be heading out to seize the day, but one of you (yes, we’re looking at you, human) needs to pack enough food and water for a long day ahead.
Sustenance is key, and trust us, you’re going to need it.
As you’re already aware, your pup does not sweat the same way humans do. Their fur coat is good at trapping heat, making them susceptible to overheating. To combat this, be sure to bring plenty of water and give it to them at short intervals while on the trail.
Some people might consider adding some electrolytes to their water, but remember to not overdo it.
Also remember to bring some yummy treats for your dog, so they can keep energy levels up.
Once you return home all tuckered out, you might also want to give them some extra food because chances are, they could use it.
Clean up after your pooch
This can not be said enough. Your dog might not know better, but you should. When you’re outdoors, be it a park, the beach, or even remote areas like the woods, you simply can not leave your dog’s waste behind.
Your dog’s business is your business, and if left unattended, it can even wreak havoc on the environment.
There is absolutely no telling how far this ignorance on your part can go in disrupting ecosystems as well as the lives of the animals that call these places home.
Your best bet would be to bring several paper bags, latex gloves, and something to pick up the waste with. All that’s left then is to locate the nearest trash can and do the needful! Alternately, you can dig a 6-inch hole to bury your dog’s waste. You’ll want to make sure, however, that you dig at a distance of about 200 feet from the hiking trails, camping areas, and water sources.
Bringing a first-aid kit is always a smart idea. After all, accidents do happen and it isn’t in their nature to announce themselves before hitting you like a ton of bricks.
If things go from bad to worse, you can always use whatever is in your first-aid kit to buy precious time while taking your dog to get professional medical help.
Know your dog’s limitations
It’s understandable that your dog can’t contain their excitement at the prospect of spending an entire day outdoors. As their owner, however, you should be aware of just how much your dog can possibly take.
Your plans for the day should factor in your dog’s age, above all else. Of course, if you’re unsure as to how your dog will fare, drop in to see the veterinarian.
Make your dog dress the part
Just like you need to make sure your dog isn’t overheating, you need to be certain they’re protected from the elements. This is something to consider especially if your dog doesn’t have a thick fur coat, and you’re hiking during the winter months.
Whether it’s a cute little jacket, or a sweater vest, make sure your pooch is bundled up just enough to be comfortable and not catch the sniffles.
If you’re going to be traversing rocky terrain, bring along some booties for your dog. They might detest them, but they’ll be grateful once they realize how pain-free their paws are!
Check for bugs and ticks
It’s a given that your dog took full advantage of their newfound liberty in the great outdoors, turned into the wild thing you stop them from being at home, and brushed past all sorts of bushes, grasses, and trees in doing so.
Once you’re ready to head back home, it will serve you well to examine your dog’s coat for any bugs or ticks that may have got caught in it, unwillingly accompanying your mutt on quite the adventure.
There you have it; a basic checklist to arm you with the information you need to plan a fun-filled, exciting day out with your best buddy!