This area is beautiful for hiking and what is more fun than hiking with your best friend? We want to make sure that you are totally prepared when you bring your dog with you on your hiking trip to make sure all of you stay happy and healthy when traveling or hiking outdoors.
Training Your Dog For Hikes
- Condition your dog
Just as you do for yourself, it is important to make sure that your dog is trained for the hikes you would like to do. You can take your dog on small hikes at first, slowly increasing the distance (and weight if you plan on having your dog carry a pack) as you both become conditioned. Train in the area and weather conditions you will go out in. Consider any elevation changes and dangers in the surrounding environment. Also, avoid hiking during the heat of the day and keep walks to a reasonable pace and distance.
- Dogs allowed?
Be sure that dogs are allowed on the trails you plan to hike and take note of the nearest emergency veterinary clinic in the area.
- Food and Water
Stop frequently and offer your dog water throughout your hike. Don’t feed your dog a large meal before a hike instead, feed your dog a portion of his/her meal and supplement treats throughout the hike.
- Make sure your dog is current on his/her vaccines
Wild animals can carry distemper, rabies, and leptospirosis for example and vaccines will protect your dog against these viruses.
- Make sure your dog is current on a parasite control product
Fleas, ticks, and intestinal worms are also easy to come by in the great outdoors and your dog's parasite control product should be protecting against all of them. Ask your vet what the best parasite preventive is for your dog.
- Make sure your dog is microchipped
Microchipping your dog is the most reliable way to find him/her again if you should be separated on your hike. If your dog is already microchipped, make sure to update your information with the microchip company with your most recent contact information.
Tools For The Road
- Must Haves
- Fresh water
- A collapsible bowl
- Food and treats
- Current ID tags and a well-fitting collar
- A sturdy leash for walking or securing your pet
- Doggie waste bags
- First aid kit
- Optional depending on your situation
- Protective booties for rocky/rough terrain, snow, ice, cacti or nettles
- Snake bite kit (if appropriate for your area)
- Doggie backpack (if your dog is used to this)
On The Trail
Watch for signs of overexertion, such as excessive panting, drooling, weakness, or bright red gums. Also look out for hypothermia, frost-nip, injury to paw pads, lameness and exhaustion.
- Environmental Dangers
Watch out for poison ivy, oak or sumac (look for leaves of three) as well as snakes and other wildlife. If your dog chases wildlife, make sure he/she is leashed for safety. Rattlesnake Aversion Training can be very effective for dogs who are at high-risk of encountering rattlesnakes.
- Rest in the shade
Make sure you are giving time to rest and water in the shade and if there is a water source for cooling off, all the better. During the rests, take time to check the paw pads for any signs of injury or overuse.
After The Hike
- Check for fleas and ticks
This is crucial after you and your dog have been hiking. Use a flea comb to remove adult fleas and fine tweezers to slowly pull ticks out at the skin. Put ticks in rubbing alcohol to kill them.
After a good hike, make sure your pet is well fed and watered and has a comfortable place to rest up from the exercise. Watch for soreness or lameness in the coming days in case injury happened. Animals are good at hiding pain so train your eye to be on the lookout for any limping or stiffness. If there are any questions, make sure to see your veterinarian.
Have fun! Hiking with your best friend can be a good time for both of you. Plan ahead and enjoy your time together.
Posted Tuesday, June 23, 2015