With summer upon us and many eager to get out into the world, fitness and exploration are likely at the top of everyone’s list. For pet lovers, they may even consider bringing their pup with them on a walk or a hike on their favorite trail. The problem? Humans are far more durable and have better control over their environment than dogs do. This means that we can easily overestimate our dog’s ability to handle a hike, putting them in danger along the way.
Fortunately, safe exercise begins with better education. If you plan on bringing your pup on a walk, here are some helpful tips for hiking with your dog that you should know.
1. Make sure that you have the property safety equipment.
Have you ever gone hiking, only to see a dog without a leash or harness? Regardless of whether it’s a puppy, a small dog, or a larger breed, there’s a good reason why you should always have a dog harness. Firstly, it protects your dog from accidentally falling down a hill and ensures that they don’t see something and run away from you during your hike. Secondly, it keeps your dog in check to make sure that other hikers are protected (even if your dog is very friendly). Keeping your pup on a leash is crucial in any setting, especially when you’re hiking.
Of course, you want to make sure that you have the best harness for dogs if you plan on going for a hike with them. A great harness will have a lightweight build as well as adjustable straps and buckles to ensure a tight yet comfortable fit so you aren’t pinching your dog’s skin. You should also look for one that is a no-pull harness to deter pulling and protect your dog’s trachea and your dog’s neck from damage should they quickly pull away from you. Even though typical straps and collars, it’s always a good idea to go above and beyond as a dog owner! This way, you can avoid any potential issues you may encounter on your hike.
2. Have plenty of water on hand to keep your dog hydrated.
When we go on hikes by ourselves, we know how to keep ourselves safe. This can mean wearing breathable ankle pants, a loose tee, and having plenty of water and snacks on hand to keep our energy up. That being said, your dog’s body is far more susceptible to issues like tiredness and dehydration.
If you don’t have the proper items on hand, your dog may end up facing serious medical issues like heatstroke without the proper medical support nearby. Always bring cold water, snacks, and other items that your dog will inevitably need. If it’s too hot outside or you don’t think your dog can make the trek with you, don’t push them! It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
3. Look for appropriate hiking spots for yourself and your dog.
When hiking by yourself, you may opt for steep mountainous regions that give you a stunning view of the city and beyond. For your dog, this may not be the best spot. Beyond hiking spots that may tire your dog out or put them at risk of heat exhaustion, there are numerous outdoor hazards that could pose a risk to your dog’s health. A few worth mentioning include poisonous plants, contaminated water, sharp objects, and pests like ticks. Always look for hiking spots that are safer for your dog and allow dogs on the path.
Exercise helps your pup become a healthy, strong dog. However, even strong dogs are at risk for a wide variety of health emergencies and dangers they may encounter out in nature. If you plan on going for a hike with your furry friend, use the guide above to plan ahead and keep your buddy safe when you finally hit the trail together!