Dogs like being out there as much as we do. Even the smallest and boutique dog breeds enjoy going out for a hike. Think about the happy moment when your pet is joyfully jumping around your day-pack literally bagging for new adventures. Don’t hesitate, take him/her with you. If you have never done it before and you are worried about the experience, check out the tips below. It will not go by a plan and that is perfectly O.K. Simply enjoy that day with your buddy.
Hiking is the perfect way to get active for both you and your dog. Doing it together also adds some protection on the trail. Wildlife often shies away from dogs and is more likely to leave you alone when you have your pet with you. He or she can also give early warning signs of impending (and unwanted) visitors. Furthermore, it is a really great bonding experience.
Hooked on the idea? Let’s get started.
This applies both to you and your dog. Consider your and your four-legged friend’s physical condition and start taking long walks and some shorter but intense hikes prior to your trip. If your dog is a puppy, make sure he or she is socialized and feels comfortable with other dogs, people and new places.
Tip: It’s always a good idea to take your dog to the vet prior to your hiking trip to check his/her condition. If you are an active person and plan to share your activities with your pet, make regular visits to your vet at the beginning of each season.
This is mandatory for all kind of hiking trips. You should always check the weather and research the trail. However, in the case when you are accompanied by your pup you have some additional homework to do. Not only you need to find a dog friendly trail (meaning no sharp rocks all the way etc.) but you need to make sure that it is not restricted for pets. Be sure to look for additional rules for dogs on the trail (leashes mandatory etc.). The temperature should also be considered. In warmer weather your dog will do better if a trail offers plenty of shade or shallow water crossings to cool off in.
Tip: It’s a good idea to make your dog wear some tags. In the event you get separated, they will help anyone that finds your pup reunite you.
Hiking off-leash with your dog may be a common sense in your view. However, that is not necessarily true for other people in the mountain. Even if your pup is the friendliest dog around, not everyone is comfortable encountering dogs on the trail. Therefore, there is certain etiquette that needs to be followed.
1. Keep your pets from getting too close to other people and dogs, especially on narrow trails. This means that if you do wish to hike off-leash with your dog, then you will need to manage him or her attentively.
2. Always ask permission first before allowing your dog to approach anyone. Recall your dog, restrain him or her, and step aside if such is not given.
3. Horses have the right of way. If your trail is often used for horse riding, remember this rule.
4. Always communicate clearly if your dog is not friendly with other dogs. In this case, use a leash every time another four-legged friend appears.
5. Leave no trace! Discard your pet's poo. It's an imperative.
N.B. Do not under any circumstances leave bags of poop next to the trail! It is so not cool!
Treats, food and water
A day of hiking will burn considerably more calories than your dog's normal routine of napping all day long, so it's ok to reward them with extra treats. Bring their normal food and zip pack a mixture of their favorite snacks to use whenever needed on your way. For water you can bring just the collapsible bowl you probably use for walks in the park. However, if you will hike an area that is short on water, consider bringing a separate water bottle for your dog. You can then pour any extra water your dog doesn't drink back into his/her bottle (just don't mix up yours with theirs!).