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Day of Hiking: Taking your dog on a hike is one of the best experiences. It can be a great bonding time for you, especially if you cannot give time to your furry friend because of your busy routine. However, taking your pet on a hiking trail demands a lot of preparation.
You need to ensure your safety, your dog’s safety, and the safety of others hiking on the same trail as you. Not only this, but you also need to provide your dog with extra care post-hike.
However, if you’re new to this or want some more information about how to make the better experience for you, then you’re at the right place. This article will list down some top tips you can use before planning a hike day, including some aftercare tips.
Before you even plan to take your dog for a hike or even start training it, you should plan a visit to the vet. This is important because a physical check-up will indicate if your dog is ready for an impactful exercise. Moreover, it can also help you stay up-to-date with their vaccinations, which is a must-do if you take them on a hike.
This should be the next step after a vet visit. Unfortunately, some hike trails do not allow dogs with or without a leash. This means that you need to conduct your research for local hike trails that allow dogs before you can even begin training them. One of the reasons dogs aren’t allowed is due to safety issues.
You will need some essentials to spend a full day at a hiking trail easily. Similarly, hiking with dogs also calls for packing some of the stuff they will need. The best way to ensure that you pack all of it is to buy a dog backup. You need to make sure that the backpack’s weight and its contents do not exceed your dog’s weight. There are many varieties of dog backpacks, including ones you can attach at the front or as a harness. Some examples of items that you should pack include:
If you’re hiking during peak sun, then you should consult your dog’s vet for canine sunscreen. Using one will help protect your dog from overexposure.
Ideally, you should carry collapsible containers for dog food and water. This creates space in the backpack which other important items can utilize.
Make sure dog boots are breathable, so your dog’s paws ate protected from the heat. They are also handy when it comes to taking a dip in the water as they are waterproof.
Make sure you have a dog leash on your dog and a spare one in its backpack so that there is no problem if you misplace it. This is important as some trails do not allow dogs without a leash.
Training is an important aspect of hiking. Whether it is you or your dog, training allows your body to face the rigorous hike. Ideally, you should start training by taking your dog out for a walk. Increase walk times slowly while also taking them to slightly difficult topographies, so they are well-prepared. Moreover, you can also take your dog for a practice hike to one of the easier trails to see how the experience would be.
During the hike, make sure your dog is hydrated. You can train your dog to drink water from a water bottle, or you can carry a dish you can pour water in. You may stop by a water body such as a stream or waterfall to drink water, but don’t rely coming across one. Your dog may be needing water after some time, which can be a hassle for you if there is no water body in sight.
Preparing an aid kit with necessary items such as a band-aid, wool socks, gauze, and even Pedialyte for your dog is important if you plan to take them for a hike. However, consult your dog’s vet before you give them anything. As such, as them for a checklist of items you can include in your dog aid kit.
This is an important tip because it considers the safety of all those who are hiking on the trail. Firstly, you should have your dog on a leash, so you have control over it. This way, you can move away from harming plants or other animals. Moreover, be careful when it comes to the topography of the trail. Ask beforehand or be vigilant as there could be ditches or water bodies that your dog may fall into.
You may have packed some essentials for your dog, including some treats for it. When you treat your dog or take out any of its essentials for use, ensure that you pack them up and take them home with you. If you see dog treats on the hiking trail, make sure to pick them or dispose of them. Not doing so would be going against trail etiquette, which states that you should only leave behind footprints and nothing else.
If you have had a successful hike day with your dog, you should reward them for being with you throughout the trail journey. However, even though rewarding means treats, you should allow your dog ample rest time and even increase its appetite or water intake. Don’t take it for long walks and try to cut back from too much play. But once you notice your dog is back to its normal routine, you can resume all activities.
With these tips, you should be prepared to have the best hiking experience with your dog. All you need is some planning, some training, and a little bit of rewarding your dog. Just make sure that you only plan all of this when you have selected a dog-friendly hike trail. You don’t want your plans to go to waste.