Hiking is a great way to bond with your dog.
Hiking is great exercise for you and your dog, not to mention a great way to bond in a healthy atmosphere but it’s important to be mindful of safety tips. Dogs tire easily and, like humans, can be at risk for heat stroke on hot days. Steep and uneven terrain, along with unpredictable wildlife can create hazardous situations. Be smart, safe and well prepared so you can enjoy your trip. Here are 5 things to consider before you venture out on a hike with your dog:
1. Be sure your dog is healthy enough for the excursion. Hiking is strenuous. Based on breed, size and age, not all dogs are suited for rigorous activity. If you plan on your dog carrying equipment, train in advance by starting with light packs and short walks, working up to heavier packs. A dog in top physical condition should be able to carry 25 percent of their body weight. Check with your vet, especially if your dog is small to be sure they are suited to carrying a pack.
2. Stay on designated trails and keep dogs leashed. Always verify that dogs are permitted on trails. Many national and state parks do not allow dogs. Do your homework online and investigate prior to departure. Keep your dog close to you to avoid wildlife, poisonous plants and snakes and be respectful of other hikers.
3. Allow your dog to take frequent rest and hydration breaks. Hot days bring risk of heatstroke for humans and dogs. Feed at least one hour before or 30 minutes after hiking to avoid getting sick. Be mindful of water sources that could be contaminated with algae or harmful parasites. Pack plenty of bottled water if you will not have access to clean, safe water.
4. Cleanup after your dog. Respect the environment and other hikers by picking up pet waste and discarding in designated bins or safely bury away from trails, water sources and campsites.
5. Pack the appropriate pet supplies. Be sure to have enough food and treats, safe water, portables bowls, leashes, waste bags, first aid supplies, insect repellent, protective dog clothing and booties.