Hiking is fun, but hiking with your dog can be even more enjoyable. Not only is it great exercise for your dog, exploring the great outdoors is a great way for the two of you to bond.
There are several key elements to making sure hiking with your dog is a safe and fun experience for both of you. From preparation to actually getting on the trail, it is important to consider your dog’s health at every point.
At East Valley Animal Hospital, we want to offer some tips for hiking with dogs, so you can make the most out of every adventure.
One of the best tips for hiking with dogs is to prepare properly before you go. Taking the time to make sure you have everything in order, and that you have the correct gear can make or break your hiking experience.
Here are some of the most important aspects of preparing for your hike:
Know Where You’re Going
Dogs are not always allowed on every trail or in certain areas, so taking the time to research where you are going could save you a lot of trouble or disappointment. There are lots of places you can go, so if the hike you had in mind doesn’t allow dogs, there are probably plenty more nearby that do.
Check the Weather
Checking the weather forecast is probably something you already do prior to going on a hike, but temperatures that may be fine for you could be harmful to your dog. Because dogs can’t sweat like you do, they can easily get overheated and overexert themselves quickly on hot summer days. If it’s going to be over eighty degrees outside, consider the humidity and the terrain (will there be shade?).
Make Sure Shots Are up to Date
Not only should you make sure your dog’s shots are up to date before you hike, but also their parasite prevention. From heartworms to ticks, there are lots of parasites or diseases they could possibly come in contact with on a hike.
If you intend to make hiking with your dog a regular activity, there are lots of brands that provide awesome trail gear for you and your dog. From hiking booties to backpacks, you have endless options. You don’t need fancy gear however—just make sure you have the essentials: water and water bowl, collar and/or harness with ID tags and sturdy leash, pet waste bags, food/treats, and a pet first aid kit.
On the Trail
Preparation isn’t the only thing that’s important to keep in mind to ensure safe hiking with your dog. Here’s what to do during your hike to keep your dog safe and happy:
Opt to Stay On Leash
While letting your dog run off leash may sound fun for you dog, it can present major risks, especially when you’re out on a trail. You have no idea what you and your dog may come across while hiking—wild animals, aggressive dogs, and other hazards could be right around any corner. Even dogs who are well trained to recall can get lost or wander out of range of your voice.
Clean Up After Your Pet
Even if you are hiking somewhere remote, it is always important to pick up after your pet and make sure to dispose of their waste properly. A lovely hiking spot can quickly become unpleasant and pose a threat to the environment if hikers aren’t picking up after their dogs.
Make sure to offer water to your dog throughout the hike, even if they have access to a stream. Drinking pond and stream water could make your dog extremely sick, so ensure they aren’t tempted to drink by providing plenty of clean water for them. Hydrating through the hike will also reduce their risk of overheating.
Don’t Overdo It
If your dog seems overexerted and fatigued, take it as a sign to rest and head back if you need to. Pushing your dog to continue on past exhaustion could increase their risk of injury.
Is Your Dog Ready to Hike?
If you have questions about keeping your dog safe against parasites and diseases, the staff at East Valley Animal Hospital would love to see you and your furry friend. The best medicine is preventative medicine, so we want to ensure that your pet’s shots and preventatives are up to date. To schedule an appointment you can call us at 480-568-2462 or contact us online.