Now that summer is here, I am sure you are looking forward to even more outdoor adventures like hiking with your dogs. Great! But hold your horses! Before you dash out the door with your dog in tow, it’s important to do some preparation beforehand. For the purpose of making sure you and your best friend have an amazing summer hiking, we’ve prepared a list of ten essentials to consider and prepare before you go hiking with your dog this summer.
Brush Up on The Training
When you are hiking, you will come across situations like new scents, wildlife, strangers, etc.. that your dog has not faced before. And who can blame him for being curious and wanting to explore. Still, since it can lead to dangerous situations for you, your dog, or other hikers, it is important that you are aware of how your dog reacts to new situations and brush up on some commands and obedience training. That way if a situation does arise, you will be able to maintain better control of your dog. Even when your dog is not leashed, your dog should always remain in your line of sight and be able to hear your commands. If you have more than one dog on this hike, make sure that you have a human buddy joining you too. You should always maintain a 1:1 human to dog ratio.
Leash and Dog Harnesses are Essential
Always have a leash with you especially if there are local leash laws where you are hiking. Getting fined or stopped by law enforcement won’t be fun.. If it’s not too hot or restrictive, we’d also recommend putting a harness on your dog. This way, if there are any sudden situations as above that can cause your dog to react, you can quickly attach the leash to the dog harness or use the handle to pick up or pull back your dog. For example, if you are coming to a narrow edge with a drop, it’d be good to leash your dog. We’d recommend a shorter leash under 10 feet so this gives you more control.
Microchip Just To Be Sure
I cannot stress this enough. Although your dogs may have ID tags on their harnesses, it is better to be safe than sorry and make sure that even if your dog gets lost and loses his ID tags, he still has a way to find his way home to you.
Food and Water for Two
How much water your dog needs will really depend on the activity that you are doing, the age of the dog, and how hot the day is. A dog typically need 8.5 to 17 ounces of water per 10 pounds per day. These are general guidelines, so we would recommend always bringing a bit more than you think you will need especially if it is a hot day. So when you are hiking, this is a much more strenuous exercise, be sure to take extra food and water for your dog. And don’t forget about yourself too! If you have a dog harness with a backpack attachment, that can be a great accessory to get your dog to share some of the weight of the extra accessories, food, and water that you have to carry plus your dog will enjoy having a job to do.
Vaccinations and Parasite Prevention
To make sure that your dog doesn’t become sick on the trail, check your dog’s last vaccination dates to make sure everything is up to date. Similarly, you need to make sure that you’ve got all the flea, tick, and heartworm preventative care. You can read more about this from this article by pet trainer, Deana Case.
Get out of there Phoebe!
Don’t Let Your Dog Drink From Stagnant Water
It won’t be easy to keep your dog away from all water sources, but where possible, at least make sure that he is not drinking from stagnant water. Typically, these pools will contain water-borne diseases, parasites, and microbes that can make your pup very sick.
Put Some Thought Into Which Trail You Do
Do some research and plan your hike. Is your dog going to be able to handle it? If your dog is still a puppy, we wouldn’t recommend any strenuous hikes because his joints and bones are still developing. At the same time, an older pooch may tire out easier or may have painful joints. Make sure you understand your dog’s fitness level and health so you don’t choose a hike that will be too difficult. And if you do want to improve your dog’s fitness level so that eventually he can come along, make sure you take it slowly. Work up to it. Slowly increase the length and intensity of your daily walks before embarking on a long, strenuous hike. Putting a dog harness with a handle on your dog will also help you give him a boost if the trail has some difficult bits.
Don’t Forget Those Good Trail Manners
Okay not that you are ready to go on that hike, the last thing we want to mention is good trail manners. This means to leave no trace. We want to keep our hiking trails clean for all to enjoy!
Congratulations! The tedious part is over now, and with that now go out there and hike with your dog. Please share your comments below!
That's a great selfie, Dex.