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Going on a hike with your dog can be a very enjoyable experience. Maybe you’ve already gone hiking before with your dog or you’re just getting started, either way, below are five things to consider before going on a hike with your pet.
5 Things To Consider Before Taking Your Dog Hiking
- Exercise & Mental Stimulation – A nice hike on a beautiful trail with your dog can not only provide mental stimulation, therapy, and bonding time for the two of you, but also exercises the lungs, legs, and other muscles.
- Your Dog’s Physical Condition – Make sure your dog is capable of going on a hike. If your dog is overweight, an old dog, a flat-faced breed, has arthritis or some other type of condition that handicaps their mobility, you’ll want to take that into consideration before setting off on the hike. You don’t want your dog to get injured doing a hike that’s too challenging for him and if it does get hurt or tire out then you’ll want to make sure you’ll be able to carry him back to safety. If you don’t know if your dog is in good enough condition to hike, make sure you check with your local veterinarian.
- Planning A Hike That’s Dog-Friendly – Make sure before setting off on a hike that you research the trail to make sure it’s dog-friendly. Some trails do not want dogs because people can become frightened by them and an uncontrolled dog can present a danger to other park visitors. Dogs can also carry diseases that they can leave on the trails which can affect wildlife populations. In addition to that, they can leave behind their scent and disrupt or alter the behavior of the wildlife in that area. Dogs can also bark, disturbing the quietness of the wilderness. Some will even chase, and threaten wildlife, keeping them from nesting and feeding in that area. On some trails, your pet can be in danger of larger predators like, mountain lions, bears, and coyotes. All are reasons why some trails do not want dogs there so make sure you take your dog to a dog-friendly trail.
- Gear To Bring For You And Your Dog – The number one thing you want to bring with you is a 6-foot leash (not a retractable leash) and a harness (not a collar). You can save your dog’s life with these two tools if you’re hiking on steep or rugged terrain or around fast-moving water. If your animal falls, you can safely lift your dog away from a cliff, water, or a dangerous snake. You’ll definitely want to bring some healthy snacks and a lightweight, collapsible travel bowl so you can pour the dog some fresh water to drink. You and your dog will want to stop often to rehydrate especially if the dog is panting heavily or it’s hot outside. Also, make sure your dog is wearing a proper ID tag or collar that’s got your phone number on it in case the dog gets lost so a person who finds him can contact you. It’s also wise to bring along a small first aid kit with essential emergency items like gauze, scissors, or tape. The last thing you’ll want to bring with you is poop bags so you can clean up after your pet.
- Check Your Dog For Bugs Or Injuries – After your hike, it’s always recommended that you give your dog a full inspection from nose-to-tail to make sure he or she didn’t bring back any ticks, spiders, other types of pests. Foxtails and other brushlike flowering spikes can also latch onto your pet so check for those too. The number one place these things like to hide is between your dog’s toes and around their ears so keep that in mind. Your dog can also get injured on a hike so observe them for a bit to make sure they are not walking funny and strangely whimpering. Sticks, branches, and rocks can also scrape and cut your pet so check them all over for any wounds they may have. Once you’ve done that, you may want to give them a bath to wash off all the dirt and grime from the hike. The last thing you want is your pet bringing poison oak, ivy, or sumac back and spreading it all over your home.
Doing all the above will make your hike with your dog more enjoyable and safer. It will also bring the two of you closer together and create a stronger bond. You can now watch the video below for more tips and guidance on hiking with your dog.
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