Safe Hiking with Your Dog

No dog, whether it’s a big breed or an energetic smaller one, will refuse an opportunity to go hiking and enjoy the great outdoors with his favorite people.

However, taking your dog hiking should never be a spur of the moment decision. First, your dog must be in good health. And, second, your dog must be used to going on longer outings with you beyond the dog park and a few times around the block.

So, in a nutshell, it requires some stamina and obedience training as your dog must be able to react to commands — especially in unfamiliar territory such as a hiking trail.

Fortunately, there are lots of books and websites that detail dog-friendly hiking trails all around the country. Ask local tourist offices for information, too.

If you’ve never taken your dog on such an outing before, it’s a really good idea to check out the trail on your own in order to ensure that is canine appropriate. And, more importantly, that it is something that your own dog won’t flinch at doing. Also, be sure to double check that dogs are allowed to hike the trail.

Pet parents who hike regularly with their pooches are opting for their dogs to wear proper ergonomically designed dog shoes to ensure that nothing harms their feet or gets stuck in between their paw pads. This is worth considering. But once again, make sure you purchase well in advance and that your dog is comfortable wearing them to such an extent that he’s no longer conscious about wearing footwear.

As we are venturing into heavy-duty flea and tick season, it’s important that your dog has been treated against such parasites. Also, it’s a good idea to have a small first aid kit to deal with lacerations and insect bites on you at all times. Include a tick key so that you can immediately remove any ticks that climb on. They work on people too!

If you have a bigger dog, there are special canine backpacks that you can stock with his own doggie kit including treats and water. Always take more water than you think you may need for the duration of the outing. Doggie sunscreen on white noses and skin is an excellent idea as well. Another good idea is to take along some type of clothing that keeps off the heat or provides additional warmth if the temperature suddenly drops.

Be sure to monitor your dog to ensure that he isn’t over heating and suffering from dehydration. Remember: dogs don’t sweat like we do — they pant.

It’s a really good idea to keep your dog on a leash at all times. A six-foot, multifunctional sturdy leash is an excellent idea. If it has gadgets like a carabiner, then you can attach him to a tree during one of your stops.

Just before you begin your hike, double check that your pet is wearing his ID tag and make sure your cell phone is properly charged, too.

Do you have any hiking tips that work for you and your dog?

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