by Gideon Lasco
Hiking with your dog can be a rewarding activity but it must be done properly, mindful of the dog’s safety and fitness, and respectful of other hikers and the environment. Here are some tips for hiking with your dog:
1. Train your dogs first with easier and shorter hikes. Dogs, like humans can also get overwhelmed by distance, and they can also be affected by altitude.
2. Take the dog for a checkup and medical clearance. Before you go on a hike, make sure that your dog is up to date with vaccines, and if your dog has medical conditions, your vet can provide advice. Dogs that are too young or too old may not be advised to proceed with the hike.
3. Take note of the veterinary clinic nearest to your planned hike, in case of emergency. Check this page in the PAWS website for more information. Importantly, keep your vet’s phone number so you can call for help.
4. Bring a first aid kit for your dog, and learn about animal first aid. Bandages, surgical tape, gauze, and an Elizabethan collar are among the components of a first aid kit for dogs. Check out this useful article from Outside Outline for more information.
5. Don’t feed the dog with a large meal before the hike. Give the dog a small portion and snacks along the way instead.
6. Avoid hiking during the hottest times of the day and very hot days. Dogs don’t have the ability to cool down and sweat like humans, so be sure to check the weather first before attempting to hike. Best to hike early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Warning signs that your dog is experiencing hyperthermia or overheating include excessive panting, increased salivation, red or pale gums, and weakness.
7. While hiking, make sure the dog is well and frequently hydrated. Dogs are even more prone to human to dehydration.
8. Keep the dog on a leash and don’t let him stray off trail. Also make sure that your dog doesn’t get into contact with wild animals and the dog doesn’t damage plants.
9. Be courteous to other hikers. Keep your dog calm while other hikers are approaching, and under your control when you encounter them on the trail.
10. Clean up your dog’s waste. You can either by bringing it back on a doggie bag or burying it far from streams or water sources. When it comes to dogs, the Leave No Trace principles still applies. Leave nothing but paw prints.