10 Tips You Should Know Before Taking Your Dog Out on a Hike
Summer months are approaching, which means more outdoor activities! Don’t leave Sparky behind at home, she’d love to tag along to get a breath of fresh air. Hiking is great way to bond with your dog and to experience something new for a change.
Before you go, here are several precautions you should take note of when hiking with your pup:
- Is the hike dog friendly? A general rule of thumb is to check whether or not the hiking trail allow dogs. Do your research on which hiking trails are dog friendly. You always want to ensure your dog’s safety and the safety of other hikers as well.
- Is your dog up to date on vaccinations? On flea or tick treatment? This is so important! You don’t want your dog to contract any diseases on hikes from other dogs. You don’t want Sparky to be carrying any pests home either! If you spot any ticks on your dog, immediately remove them. Learn how to safely remove them with tweezers here.
- Check the weather! If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog. When the temperature is in the high 90’s or below freezing, your best bet is to keep your dog at home and choose another day when the weather is nice out. This will be more comfortable for you and your dog.
- Give your dog breaks. Just like us, they get tired too. Take frequent stops for breaks when hiking with a dog. Find shady areas to keep cool. If there's a river or creek on the hike, let your dog play in the water to cool off.
- This is an obvious one, but bring extra water! You’re not the only one who will get thirsty. Portable water bowls or collapsible dishes come in handy for hikes and are very convenient for your dog to drink out of.
- Do not allow them to drink open water. River water might not be the cleanest option for your dog to drink. They can possibly contract Giardia, which is a parasite which can be found in contaminated water that can lead to intestinal infections.
- Look out for signs of dehydration or heat stroke. Excessive panting, dry noses, pale gums and slow movements are all signs of dehydration. Read more about dehydration symptoms and treatments here.
- If necessary, wear dog booties. Dog booties are worn to protect your dog’s paw pads especially on long hikes. Rough terrain and hot surfaces can damage your dog’s paws pads and wear them out. These are not always necessary, but they can also be helpful in extreme weather conditions, such as snow or hot temperatures.
- Bring poop bags. Always, always clean after your pet when they make a mess.
- Know how much your dog can handle. Don’t push your dog to go further if you know they are slowing down. Larger dogs have more stamina compared to smaller dogs, and age plays a huge factor as well. Don’t expect your 12 year old pooch to complete an 8 mile hike. Listen to your dog when they are tired or not feeling well.
Enjoy your hike and stay safe! Always keep your pet in mind- your pet’s safety should be the first priority.