Hiking With Your Dog – Some Important Things You Should Know
Being outdoors with your dog is one of the most rewarding experiences that you can have. However, there are considerations to make for a better experience, which we discuss here.
You may be a dog lover, but everyone isn’t. Further, your pet may not be safe throughout your hike. There are also some etiquette rules to follow. We will cover all of this.
Hiking with a dog is very different than being with your pooch at home. It is imperative to understand this difference and what to do to make your hike memorable for both of you.
We researched deeply about the different aspects of being outdoors with dogs. You will learn everything about hiking with dogs and may even be able to share best practices with others!
Some of my earliest dog memories are when I was about 12 and lived in an area surrounded by rocks and wasteland. I would set out in the early morning with Mitzi, my golden cocker spaniel, and we would walk for miles, hardly seeing a soul. Once into the wasteland, she would be off the leash and leading the way through the most accessible paths and over the firmest rocks!
I will never forget those fantastic hikes we used to take, with a glimpse of local wildlife, maybe a rabbit or a few exotic birds. But I did learn a few best practices from way back then, and in addition to a bit of extra information that I picked up, here are a few things that you would do well to be aware of while hiking with your dog
The Fitness Factor
Once you are out on a hiking trail, you and your dog may be subjected to physical challenges. This is definitely not a walk in the garden, and both of you need to be reasonably fit for the trip. Physically, your dog’s ribs should be visible for her to be considered fit. If your dog’s ribs are covered with fat deposits, maybe a few brisk, hour-long walks around the block would be in order before going on a hike.
Your dog should also be in good health. This means assessing the feasibility of a hike in the light of say, hip dysplasia, however mild. The same goes for respiratory or cardiovascular issues. It is always advisable to get your dog checked by a vet for an all-clear on a hike.
It is essential that your dog behaves well for everyone’s benefit. Your dog needs to follow basic commands such as 'heel', 'come', 'sit' and 'wait'. Also, the focus should be on keeping in your vicinity and not going off chasing rabbits or squirrels. If your dog is aggressive by nature and nervous among other dogs and people, then maybe you need to think it over about going on a hike.
As your dog grows older, she will become less agile. If she were an avid trail-hiker in her heyday, she may slow down with age. You could choose more accessible trails with less-rough terrain. In such circumstances, it is better to choose shorter paths as well.
consider the weather
Reviewing the weather forecast before you set out. Also, avoid steep, rocky trails in hot weather. If there is a possibility of heavy rain, ensure that you will have adequate shelter for you and your pooch.
the importance of trail etiquette
Here are a few tips to ensure your dog doesn’t rub fellow hikers the wrong way:
- Always maintain complete control of your dog.
- Give right of way to hikers without dogs.
- Be friendly to fellow hikers to keep your dog at ease.
- Leash your dog in the presence of other dogs.
- Keep your pooch from begging.
- Always clean up after your dog.
- Checklist for Hiking with Dogs
Here are a few essentials you should carry:
- Dog brush or comb
- Water bowl
- First aid kit for dogs (and one for yourself as well!)
- Essential canine medicine for wounds, cuts and bites.
- Scissors for dressings
- Surgical tape and gauze
- Muzzle (even the most docile dog can be aggressive if injured)
be safe and happy Hikers
Armed with this information, you can have a great hiking experience with your dog! Make your next trip memorable and safe with informed planning for you and your furry companion while hiking with your dog on your next hiking expedition.