If you’re a dog owner, then you know how much joy they bring to your life. You may also be aware of the fact that dogs need exercise just as much as humans do. One way to provide such is through hiking with your dog! However, there are some important things to keep in mind when doing so – we’ve got them all covered for you here below.
This blog post will help increase awareness about hiking safety and give tips for those who want to try taking their pup on a hike but don’t quite know where to start!
How To Prepare For A Hike With Your Dog
- Pick a hike that suits your dog’s level and fitness. If you have an older or less active pup, then keep the distance of your hikes shorter to make sure they are able to come along with you without too much trouble. On the other hand, if you’re looking for more exercise than usual, choose a longer route! Consult with your vet for a personalized plan tailored to the needs of your dog.
- Bring plenty of food and water with you on your hike, as well as some treats! If it’s going to be an especially long or hot day, bring even more snacks and consider bringing along bottled water. Bring a map so that you can identify when there are water sources, at which point you can offer water to your pup.
- Get a sturdy collar for your dog that is fitted with tags indicating their name and the phone number of an emergency vet if applicable. You might also want to bring along some extra leashes in case one gets lost or damaged during the hike.
- Never underestimate how quickly things could go wrong. Be prepared for the worst-case scenario by carrying a first aid kit and basic emergency supplies. Like water purification tablets or collapsible bowls.
- If you’re going to be hiking with your dog in an area that has high mountain lion activity, make sure they are leashed at all times.
- Always have fun while you’re hiking! Make sure to bring your dog’s favorite treats, toys, or a toy ball so they can enjoy the hike as much as you.
How To Train Your Dog For Hiking
- One of the most important things you can do to prepare for a hike with your dog is to train them. Start training long before you plan on going on an extended trip so they get used to hiking in general, and not just when it’s fun or rewarding. Dogs need cues that tell them what to expect throughout every step of their hike.
- Start by training them to obey commands when they’re on a leash, like ‘sit’ and ‘stay’. Once your dog has mastered these steps, you can move onto more advanced maneuvers like going into the woods or crossing streams.
- When teaching your pup new tricks for hiking, remember that treats are always helpful! You might be surprised at how fast your pup can learn new tricks when they’re rewarded with treats.
- The most important thing to remember is that you need to establish rules for the hike so it’s clear what will happen if they disobey a command or act aggressively. If their disobedience could lead them into danger, like crossing over to another trail or running into traffic, it’s time to bring in the leash.
- Don’t forget your dog is still a pup – they can get tired and need some breaks! You might want to plan for shorter hikes at first and gradually lengthen them over time as their stamina improves.
How To Find The Best Hiking Trails For Your Dog
When looking for a hiking trail to take your dog on, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- The best hiking trails for dogs should be well maintained, easy on the paws, and not too challenging so they can make it up hills or steep inclines without getting tired.
- Try to find hikes that have plenty of natural vegetation for your dog to explore as opposed to paved surfaces.
- If your dog is on a leash, make sure the trails are not too crowded so they can explore at their own pace.
What Should You Bring For Your Dog On A Hike?
Before you head out on your next hike with your dog, be sure to pack the following items:
- A sturdy leash and collar. Remember that retractable leashes are not allowed in many parks.
- Water! Bring a water dish or some travel water bottles for both of you so they stay hydrated on the trail. – A first aid kit in case of emergencies.
- Dog waste bags to pick up after your pup and pack a shovel for disposing of any solid waste you find along the way. Violators can be subject to fines if they are caught with their dog off-leash or leaving behind droppings!
- A map of the area if you’re not familiar with it in advance. You never know when a great photo op might come up, but they’ll be tough to find without one!
- Food for both you and your pup: this could be anything from high-energy hiking snacks like nuts or jerky to a sandwich and some fruit.
- A leash that’s appropriate for hiking: most dogs will need one with less than six feet of length so they don’t get tangled in bushes or tree limbs!
- Collapsible water bowl, either plastic or metal – this is optional but can be very helpful on longer hikes when you’re carrying a lot of other gear.
- An extra layer for yourself, just in case it gets cold and wet: this can be anything from an old hoodie or sweatshirt to a jacket that’s been appropriately waterproofed. Your dog will appreciate one too!
If you have any concerns about your pup’s health, talk with your vet and make sure to bring any medications or food.
Best Dog Treats For Hiking
- Beef Jerky: Beef jerky is one of the best treats for a hiking dog because it doesn’t spoil easily, can be cut up into smaller pieces if need be, and gives your pup an extra protein boost.
- Nuts: A handful of nuts are good to have on hikes with dogs as well! They’re small enough that they don’t take up much space, and are a healthy source of fat for your pup.
- Hardboiled Eggs: We love hard-boiled eggs on the trail! They’re high in protein, provide a good hit of carbohydrates to keep you fueled up, and can easily be wrapped in tinfoil so that they don’t get too dirty. You might want to avoid a raw egg since it’s not good for your dog, and isn’t safe (possibly) for you either.
- Fruit: You can also bring along some fresh fruit like apples or bananas! They’re easy to transport, keep the sugar levels in check, and give an extra hit of much-needed vitamins for your dog.
Health Concerns When Hiking With Your Dog
- If you have a dog that’s older or has sensitive skin, be sure to bring an extra sunblock for them. Dogs can get just as much sun damage on their muzzle and ears as we do!
- Be mindful of what plants your pup might eat – some are safe, others will cause stomach upset and vomiting. Check out your local park office to find out which ones are good.
- If you’re hiking with a pup that likes to run away from you and explore, consider getting them an ID tag. You should also be sure they’re wearing their collar during your trek – it’ll help if they get lost or injured
What Should Your First Aid Kit Include?
A first aid kit for your pup is a great idea – it can help with small injuries like cuts or scrapes. Make sure you have bandages, Neosporin, and some treats to keep them happy during the trip!
Additionally, some other medications to consider bringing are:
- Benadryl (if your pup has an allergic reaction to something or if they’re getting stung by bugs)
- Pepto Bismol (for upset stomachs caused by consuming some plants)
- Hydrocortisone Cream (soothes itching and skin irritations from bug bites)
What Should You Do When Encountering Someone Else On The Trail?
- Say hello and make sure they know you’re coming up behind them (so they don’t get startled).
- If your pup is friendly, let him or her say hello too! They are always happy to meet new friends.
- Finally, if the other person seems nervous about a dog approaching them on the trail, just make sure they know your pup will stop when you tell them to.
Let Someone Know Where You Are Going
When you are with your doggo, it can be easy to get distracted and forget that your phone has GPS! It’s really important to let someone know where you are going so they don’t worry when they can’t reach you.
- The best way is by sending a text message with an update on the hike. But social media posts work too. Just make sure not to post what trail you are hiking so they don’t have to worry about every single one.
- Another way is by wearing a loud shirt or bright colors (this can help other hikers spot you if there’s an emergency).
Obey All Leash Laws
Some trails have leash laws for safety reasons, so make sure to obey them!
- Most national parks and forests require dogs to be kept on a leash at all times.
- If there are any signs that say “dogs must be leashed” then you should follow the law too.
- It’s not just about obeying the law, it’s about keeping everyone safe too because if your dog causes harm to another person or animal, then you could get in trouble and might not be able to hike with your pup anymore.
Consider Rattlesnake Aversion Training For Your Dog
A lot of people don’t know that you can take your dog to get trained on how to be safe around rattlesnakes.
- Talk with a professional trainer about what they teach and if it might be something worth looking into for your pup.
- This training is also good in case there’s ever another type of poisonous snake in the area that you need to be aware of.
Dog Clothing For Hiking
If your dog is going to be out on the trail for a significant period of time, you should consider buying them some clothing.
- A supportive harness helps keep their back cool and free from chafing when they’re pulling against it.
- Long sleeves help protect their paws from becoming burnt or cut up by plants that are growing on the trail.
- Light colors help them stay cool — but keep in mind that they may get hot and need to shed some layers as time goes on.
- Look for vests with reflective strips if you’re hiking at night, this will help other people see your pup more easily.
Always Do A Post Hike Pup Check
After your hike, it’s important to do a quick check of your dog.
- Check their paws for any cuts or scrapes that could have come from the trail or plants.
- Examine them closely for ticks and fleas, you don’t want these hitchhikers coming home with you.
- Look at their mouth and make sure they haven’t ingested any foreign objects.
- Have a nearby bucket of water and give them some to drink, just in case they were thirsty while you were hiking or if it was their first hike of the season.
Conclusion Of Hiking With Your Dog
Hiking with your dog can be an enjoyable experience, but it’s important to take extra care when hiking and make sure you’re well equipped for the hike. Make sure you have a good harness that fits correctly so they don’t get away from you or choke themselves on their leash.
Always bring plenty of water and snacks for both of you in a pack or bag. Pack a small first aid kit with items like adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, and tweezers to remove any ticks your dog might encounter along the way.
Then have fun and enjoy the hike with your puppy!