Dogs love to explore. And that’s what makes them a great companion in outdoor adventures, whether it’s just walking around the neighborhood or going to the beach. Some dog owners take things up a notch and make their paw pal their hiking buddies. You can also do this if you want to, but you’ll have some things to take care of first.
Is Your Dog Fit for Hiking?
Before anything else, you need to make sure that your dog is fit to hike. Consider your pet’s breed and age. Some breeds are more prone to heat exhaustion and stroke. Some examples include pugs, French bulldogs, and chow chows, among others.
You also need to check your dog’s age. If your pet is just a puppy, making them go on a physically exhausting activity such as hiking can put their health at risk. The same is true with older dogs, especially since they are likely to already have health problems to begin with due to old age.
The safest route for you is to consult your trusted veterinarian. Take your dog to a checkup to determine if they’re fit to go or not.
If your dog can go hiking, here are some things you need to do to prepare for it:
Do Your Research
When you go on a trip on your own, you research your destination so that you can organize your itinerary and plan your trip. You should do the same before you hike with your dog.
Find a dog-friendly hiking trail near you. If you chose a particular trail and are unsure if they allow dogs, don’t be afraid to ask. And when you do, consider asking other concerns. For example, ticks are very common in hiking trails. And they can be harmful to you and your pet. Ask the staff what pest management practices they implement to ensure the safety of hikers and their pets. You can also ask when it’s best to go hiking, such as when there are fewer people on the trails.
You can’t take your dog to action if they’re physically unprepared. Think of a marathoner. They train years to build their endurance and be in their best shape to enter a marathon. If they come unprepared, there’s almost no chance to win. There’s also a high probability they’ll get injured.
That’s basically the same for dogs. They also need to train to be hike-ready. You can start by taking them for long walks around your neighborhood every day. If you have a multi-story home, make your dog go up and down the stairs.
Teach Your Pet Social Skills
Hiking trails are popular, so you’ll meet a lot of people and dogs on the way. As such, before you take your dog for a hike, make sure that they’re sociable and are used to passing through people and other animals.
If your dog is already pretty tame, you don’t have a lot of work to do. But they tend to be aggressive against others, you may need to take training classes together to improve your dog’s behavior.
Pack All the Essentials
Before going on your hiking trip, make sure that you pack all your dog’s essentials. These include your dog’s food, water, and a collapsible bowl to put them in. Pack some treats as well. You can use them to reward your dog and keep them motivated during the hike. Don’t forget to bring poop bags and pet wipes. An extra leash may also come in hand.
Another essential that you must not forget is your fur friend’s own first-aid kit. Depending on your chosen hiking trail, you may pass through rocky roads. And your dog may accidentally cut their paw while they hike. In the first-aid kit, include a small bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a pack of gauze to use when your dog sustains a wound. Your dog might also get splinters, so packing some tweezers will be helpful.
You get vaccinated when you go on overseas trips to reduce your risk of various diseases. Dogs need this kind of treatment. There are many viruses in the wild that your dog might pick up, such as rabies and parvovirus. Make sure that they are up to date with their vaccines to protect them from these viruses.
Dogs generally love hiking. It’s a great opportunity for them to explore somewhere new and bond with their owner. If you plan to go on a hike with your four-legged friend, make sure you prepare for it carefully to ensure your dog’s safety and yours.