If you are a hiker and a dog owner, then you and your furry sidekick are likely destined to be great trail buddies. Hiking with your pet is a great way to get out of the house and experience the outdoors.
Of course, hiking with your furry friend is a rewarding experience, but it is not without its own set of challenges; not the least of which is finding pet-friendly hiking trails that engage your pup from start to finish.
Planning is essential if you are going on a hike with your pet. It is important to remember that this is a hiking companion who is going to need a lot of care and feeding.
You can find the right gear with Outdoorish along with a few tips for making your outing a safe and fun experience.
Hiking With Your Pet: Tips You Need To Know
Gear Up Right
When taking your dog on a hike or camping, make sure both you and your dog have appropriate equipment for the adventure.
The regular hardware you use may not be the best thing in every instance, so be flexible and approach each experience as its own.
For dogs, you will want to use a collar or a body harness. Front hook harnesses restrict some motion in the shoulders, so a body harness is the safest most secure option.
Use a reliable leash. When choosing one, you have to take into account both your handling skills and how well behaved your dog is. If your dog is trained well, a retractable leash will give them a little more space to have fun and explore.
Also, when traveling to and from your hiking destination, you can use a seat cover and a car restraint for your dog. This will help keep your dog safe and your car clean.
If you are camping during your hike, coming up with a sleep system is essential. This starts with the size of your tent. A one-person larger size tent to accommodate your dog should be enough.
A piece of closed-cell foam and a crib-size comforter make an excellent doggie bed. Plan to do several backyard sleepouts, so your dog will be entirely comfortable with whatever sleep system you choose before you hit the trail.
Supplies to Bring with You
Many of the supplies you bring will depend on the weather conditions typical to the area, but it is vital to plan well for any eventuality.
In general, remember to bring supplies such as water. Hydrating you and your pup is number one. You never know whether you are going to find water along the way.
In addition to water, you will also need a first aid kit. A suitable first aid kit is not just for your pet; it is for you too.
You may occasionally get a few nicks and scrapes, bites, stings, and minor irritations. But you may potentially get severe cuts and scrapes if you or your dog takes a tumble, which can happen when managing a dog on a leash.
Sometimes things happen, collars break, leashes drop, harnesses slip off. Your pet should always be carrying ID, especially when they are away from home. It can make sure they get home safely.
If you are not entirely sure pet identification tags will be enough, having your furry friend microchipped is also an exceptional idea.
Public Trail Etiquette
Leashes are necessary for several reasons. They are important for your safety, your pet’s safety, the safety of other people, and the safety of other pets.
There are countless variables in a public setting that you cannot predict. Sometimes, it is other people and other animals that could cause a problem.
Everyone has the right to walk in a public place without having a fear of encountering a loose dog. The concept of consent applies here just as much as anything else in our lives.
Cleaning up after your furry friend is also needed. Always pack your dog’s poop and dispose of it. Of course, this helps keep the trails and parks clean, but it also reduces the potential spread of bacterial diseases.
Trail Hazards for Dogs
Your furry friend is susceptible to most of the same dangers you are. More concerning, though, is that your dog will not recognize many of them, nor be able to explain to you when something is going wrong.
Be extra vigilant and don’t overdo it. Watch how quickly your dog’s breathing and heart rate take to normalize during breaks.
Wildlife can be dangerous. One common concern for both you and your pet is the possibility of contracting a disease from ticks. One such complication is Lyme disease, even though it does not show symptoms in many dogs.
You should always check yourself and your dog carefully in order to remove any hitchhikers after the hike.
Heatstroke is another complication you want to avoid. Remember that dogs can only pant and sweat through their pads to cool off.
Be conservative, rest, and make sure you both stay hydrated by drinking often. And pull out the cooling collar if your friend keeps lying down in shady spots.
Hiking with your pet can be a rewarding experience as long as you are prepared.