With spring quickly approaching or already here in some areas, hiking season is right around the corner! And whether you’re planning just a quick day trip, or you’re looking at doing some serious backpacking, there are a few things to consider if you’re going to bring your pooch along.
First, make sure you bring all the necessary supplies:
-Plenty of fresh water/portable filtration system
-Collapsible food and water bowls
-More than enough dog food and treats for the duration of your hike
-First aid kit
-Baggies for dog waste
-Unscented gentle baby wipes
When you’re on your walk, be mindful to be constantly monitoring your dog’s behavior to ensure he’s not becoming taxed. Don’t rush and take plenty of breaks, especially if your dog is not as experienced hiking. If it’s warm out, try to find shady places to take breaks and allow your dog to get some water. If they’re barefoot, make sure the ground is not too hot for their paws. If it is, consider the dog booties.
Avoid feeding your dog too much food before or during the hike, which might make their stomach upset. Instead, give them little snacks and treats along the way. This both gives him the motivation to keep going on the journey, but also gives him little energy boosts as well!
Keep a close watch on your surroundings during the hike. Watch for poisonous plants that your dog could get into, as well as wild animals that may not be too pleased to be messed with. Little critters like porcupines and snakes love to camouflage themselves, so it’s good to be aware. Your dog will alert you immediately if he spots something or catches a whiff, so he’ll give you the heads up. Keeping a leash on your dog is an extra bit of assurance that you can keep control over him should he become too interested in something.
If your dog is accustomed to a dog hiking pack, this can be a great way to distribute the weight carried. You can put their food and accessories in their pack, leaving yourself a bit more room in your own pack.
Remember to take your time during your hike and don’t allow yourself or your dog to become overexerted. Avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day and to take plenty of nice long breaks as you go. A lot of dogs absolutely love getting to explore the outdoors with their owners on hikes through the wilderness, and with a little planning and preparedness, it’s a doable outing!
Have fun and happy hiking!