Hiking with your dog can be such an incredible experience, but things can take a turn for the worse if you don’t properly prepare. You’re responsible for yourself and your pup on the trails, and safety should be your number one priority. Follow these tips for a more successful hike with your dog.
Evaluate Your Dog’s Health Beforehand
Even if your dog is fit enough for a long walk, hiking is a sport that requires an intermediate physical fitness level. Additionally, not all dog breeds can hike comfortably due to the strenuous exercise and difficult-to-navigate terrain. Although you should train your pup to hike with you, you should always check with your vet to ensure your dog is healthy enough to excel on the trails.
Bring Enough Supplies
Packing light is a vital hiking principle, but it’s better to have more rather than less when you take your dog along. Consider adding these items to your packing list to ensure adequate preparation:
- Food and treats
- Safe drinking water
- Dog hiking harness and leash
- Disposable waste bags
- First aid kit
- Protective dog booties
- Collapsible dog bowl
Try to condense your necessities as much as you can. Keeping your hands free on the trails is safer than carrying anything. Therefore, you should consider a dog-walking fanny pack to hold items you might need readily available.
Keep Your Pup Leashed
Even if dogs don’t have to be on a leash, it’s always a good idea to use one while hiking. Keeping your pup leashed is the best way to prevent any mishaps and keep them close to you. There’s nothing worse than your dog wandering off or chasing wildlife and other people or pets on the trail.
Map Out Your Route in Advance
Mapping out your trail route in advance is especially important when you have your dog with you. There may be portions of the hike where you’ll have to carry your dog. You have to decide if you can safely do that on your own or not.
Additionally, you must determine whether your route has a natural water source that’s safe to drink. You’ll be able to decide how much water you need to pack based on the water sources and how frequently you and your dog will have access to them.
Tell Someone Where You’re Going
While hiking should be fun, accidents happen. You should always tell someone you trust where you’re going in case something happens and give them a time frame within which they should hear from you. If nobody knows where you are, a minor mishap can be detrimental.
Knowing these tips for a more successful hike with your dog is the first step to an enjoyable bonding experience with your four-legged friend. Hiking is an excellent way to stay physically active, and it also connects you and your dog to nature.