Are you planning to take your furry friend along with you on a hiking adventure? Whether you are heading out for an extended trip or day hike, you need to be adequately prepared to ensure that you both have a safe and epic hiking adventure.
Hiking with your dog can be a very enjoyable experience— but it’s different from hiking with a human friend. Not only is the preparation and planning more hectic, but your hiking trip comes with huge responsibilities. You must make sure that your furry friend has sufficient water and food, that they’re adequately outfitted, and that they remain safe on the hiking trail.
In this blog post, we are going to discuss 11 essential tips of hiking or backpacking with your dog that readers wanted to know.
11 Crucial Tips for Backpacking and Hiking with Your Dog
Dogs are some of the best hiking companions you can find around. In fact, all dog breeds love to head out for a hike, they love treats just like humans. But before you hit the trail with your four-legged friend, here are some tips that will help you both enjoy a successful hiking or backpacking adventure:
Tip #1: Check the Park Regulations
Before you set out for your hike, make sure that your dog will be allowed on the hiking trail you want to use. Most national parks restrict dogs from entering the path. But there are sites like Hike with Your Dog that can help you locate parks that allow dogs to hike with their owners.
Tip #2: Good Health and Endurance
Make sure that your dog is fit enough to bear the pressure involved in the hike. Various factors will come into play here including your dog’s age, health history, weight, breed, and length of the trail you want to hike. If you are in doubt about your dog’s limitations, consult your veterinarian.
Tip #3: Bring a Dog Specific First Aid Kit
You probably won’t be hiking with your vet in tow, so carrying a pet first aid kit and knowing how to use it will prove useful. Organizations like the American Kennel Club sell first aid kits and offer valuable resources to dog owners before they head outdoors. Remember to add any particular medicines that your vet gave you before the hike. Sites like Petmed.com will also provide crucial information on the essential items to include in your first aid kit.
Tip #4: Make Sure Your Dog Leaves No Trace (AKA Carry as Many Poop Bags as Possible)
The leave no trace rule applies to you, of course, but it also applies to your furry companion as well. You need to pick up your after friend should nature call. Make sure you bury the dog wastes by following the leave no trace rule guidelines. This will ensure that you enjoy a clean environment during your hiking or backpacking trip.
Tip #5: Dog Backpack for Hiking
Dog backpacks are great accessories for hiking adventures. Based on the age, weight, and fitness of your furry friend, you can allow them to carry some items in a backpack. But you need to visit a pet store to select a backpack that fits your canine companion well. Make sure that you pack all the essential items in the backpack, including water and food, sleeping gear, and clothing.
Tip #6: Consider the Season
If you are hiking during summer, then start early before it gets too hot for your canine companion. During the winter, you should wait to hike until the sun’s up to keep both of you warm. If you are hiking overnight, then be sure to bring your headlamp.
Tip #7: Take Breaks and Monitor Your Dog
Watch your dog closely for any signs of fatigue, discomfort, or overheating. If your canine companion is suddenly behaving oddly, limping, or panting, take your time to investigate the underlying cause. Offer your dog food or water and use your first aid kit as required.
Tip #8: Check on their Paws Often
As you hike with your furry companion, remember that everything you step on with your boots, they are hiking on barefoot. Sure, their feet are stronger than ours, but they are susceptible to pain. If your dog will not hike with boots, keep a close watch on them as you hike. If you notice that your dog is hurting, you might need to turn back.
Tip #9: Water and Food Planning
Dogs don’t sweat, which makes them susceptible to heat stroke during summer. Just like humans, they need to drink sufficient water before they get too thirsty. Being on the hiking trails requires your dog to consume more water and food than it does on a normal day. If you are not sure about the water requirement on the trail, you can call the local ranger for assistance.
Tip #10: Check your Dog before Driving Home
You’ve completed your first hike with your dog— congratulations! Before you head to the car, make sure that you check your canine companion thoroughly for any ticks that might have attacked him during the trip. Ticks can cause serious medical issues like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain fever. Consult your vet about the appropriate tick prevention methods available.
Tip #11: Pre-Hike Training
Hiking gives your canine companion freedom they don’t get in their day to day lives. If you want your backpacking or hiking adventure to run smoothly, your furry companion must be properly trained. For instance, your dog must know how to walk on a lead. If they are not able to do this, they can tire themselves, bringing your hiking adventure to a premature end.
If you follow these tips, you and your furry friend can have the first of a lifetime of adventures, bringing you both enjoyment and improving your health for years to come. Happy hiking!