Hiking is arguably one of the best ways to spend quality time with your dog. The company of your canine in the midst of nature’s arms can be priceless and adds more fun to hiking.
Besides, hiking is a great way for your four-legged friend to expend energy both mentally and physically. You also get to exercise with your dog as you establish strong bonds.
But if you are new to hiking, the importance of mastering how to hike with your dog safely can’t be underestimated.
Although there are uncertainties out there, your dog’s poor behavior or lack of essential gear could negatively affect the experience you’ll get.
You need to prepare your dog in advance with some basic training and socialization. Getting your dog to know how to walk on a loose leash will save you some effort and fear during the hike.
So, where do you start? Here are the top ways to protect your dog when hiking.
1. Visit Your Vet
Before you leave to go camping with a dog, its health is a crucial factor to look into considering that there are many of things that could limit your dog’s agility such as breed, size age, and other things. Therefore, ruling out any joint or health problem should top on your list.
Although you might think that your bouncing puppy is fit for the trail, it is advisable to take them on long-distance jaunt only when their bones have fully grown which is usually 18 months for most breeds. Additionally, long walks can strain your dog’s joints when it’s getting older.
When you take your puppy to your vet, he/she will make sure that the dog is in good form for the hike and she is well vaccinated for protection against diseases caused by earthworms, ticks, flea, etc.
2. Research on the Areas to Visit
Why should you do some research? Well, canines are not allowed in some areas, and doing some research in advance can save you from surprises. You also get to know the wildlife, plants, terrain, and climate to expect as most hiking websites describe them.
Researching also enable you to discover what’s best for your dog. According to Andrea Arden, an animal behavior expert and author Barron’s Dog Training Bible, certain breeds are known to experience breathing difficulties during exercise and prone to overheating.
Furthermore, researching will allow you to know the right amount of exercise for your dog safety especially if it’s large. Dongs with a few extra pounds can easily develop hip dysplasia, arthritis, and ligament injuries.
3. Start Slowly
If it’s the first time you are hiking with your dog, then its best to start slowly. Taking short, easy hikes with frequent stops will allow you to last longer.
Such slow hikes will toughen up your dog’s paw pads protecting your dog from injuries and getting worn out fast. You don’t want to realize that your pal is in pain when you are at the climax of fun as it can be quite annoying.
Besides, dogs are known to push themselves even with exhaustion or injuries as long as they keep going with you. You should know your dog’s limits to know the right time to take a rest.
4. Minimize Risks
Enjoying outdoor with your dog can be quite challenging with threats such as toxic plants, unfriendly wildlife, and parasitic infestation. Here are some of the things you need to watch:
• Don’t allow your dog to run off-leash and explore nature out of your sight
• Regularly check your dog’s paws for signs of foreign objects, wounds or cracks
• Avoid hiking in hot temperatures
• Check your dog well before heading home and remove anything caught in your friend’s fur or between toes.
5. Bring the Right Gear
While some breeds such as those with double or thick coats can cope with the cold outdoors, those with thin coats or that stay indoors might need a vest or sweater for warmth. There are also vest specially designed to keep your dog cool in hot temperatures.
If your canine friend is used to grass and carpet, then you should consider getting dog boots to avoid hurting her paws when walking on rough grounds. Also if you consider sleeping on compsite, make sure to bring dog shelter and tent (learn more).
Planning to hike with your dog, not on a leash? Ensure your dog has good behavior and responds to commands. Also, make sure you are allowed to hike with your dog unleashed. However, it is essential to keep a leash just in case your dog misbehaves.
Other critical gears that you will want to carry include poop bags, snacks, water and any other gear you feel your dog needs.
Whether you are planning to visit a local park, camp at the beach or hit mountains with your dog, safety should be a primary concern.
This means that you have to be equipped with skills on how to safely hike with your dog to avoid any frustrations along the way.
If you follow all these factors mentioned above, then you will be sure to get the best hiking experience with your dog.