Hiking Tips: Exploring the Great Outdoors with Your Dog Safely

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Dogs make the best hiking buddy because they love the long walks, exploring and enjoy nature. If you are planning to go on a hike with your pet, there are certain things to consider to ensure a safe, fun excursion. In today’s post, we are listing down tips for a dog-friendly hike trip:

Check in with the Vet

Do not start your hike with your pet unless you are sure that the animal is in peak physical condition. Take your dog to your pet for a physical exam. Let your vet know what you intend to do during the hike and ask if there are certain things you need to consider to avoid potential accidents or health problems. If you got the green light from the vet, then there is no reason why you should not take Fido out for a hike!

Reviewing the Hike Spot

You want to make sure the hiking spot is safe for pets. If you have a guide, ask if your dog is allowed to join the excursion and what gears to get to ensure safety. Then, review the hiking spot and find out where dogs are allowed to go. Some hike spots do not require leashes, but we strongly recommend putting your dog on a leash throughout the duration of the hike for the animal’s safety.

Prepping the Pet

Make sure your pet is ready to take on the challenge. Prepare your dog for the terrain and weather. Start by taking the dog to long walks. Stock up on sunscreen, dog-friendly bud sprays and coat protectors. If you are hiking in cold or wet conditions, invest on dog jackets and dog boots. Finally, make your pet wear an ID. This way, your pet will be returned to you in case he gets lost during the hike. Make sure the ID tag is secured to the collar. The ID should include your phone number, name and other information needed to find your dog.

Prepping Your Gear

It is critical to bring all the right gears so the trip goes on without incident. Get enough water for you and for your pet. Dogs do not sweat so they are prone to heatstroke. Do not let your pet drink from lakes or streams to avoid germs and parasites.

Carry a small first aid kit to treat minor cuts, abrasions or bruises. Add anti-histamine medications to your kit in case the animal is stung or bitten by a bug.

Avoiding Poisonous Plants

Do note that some plants are toxic to pets and you need to familiarize yourself with these plants. For instance, poison ivy or poison oak will irritate your pet’s skin just as humans. Lilies are generally poisonous to dogs too.

Avoid Hunting Season

If you can, do not schedule your trip during the hunting season. But if you must, make sure your pet is wearing bright colored or reflective clothing to avoid being mistaken for a target. Also, get the right gears if you are hiking at a bear country. Have your pooch wear bear bells and carry bear spray. Stay alert and keep your dog in sight at all times.