Hiking is a great way of exercising, getting some fresh air and being closer to the nature but it feels much more joyful when we bring our dog with us. This nice experience provides health and mental benefits and also helps in building strong and long lasting bond between dog and owner.
So before you start hiking with your beloved dog, take a look on some tips and some essential equipment you need to have with you.
Your dog’s stuff
- Having a well fitted harness that will prevent the dog from slipping out of it and will also be comfortable without causing injury on their armpits or any other body part, is essential for your hike.
- An ID tag on your dog’s collar that will mention the dog’s name and your phone number in case your dog gets lost.
- You will also need a sturdy 2 meter lead or even a long line in case you wish to let your dog wandering and sniffing a bit further away from you or in case you want to keep them close to you if there is anyone around that is not comfortable with your dog.
- Water supply and a bowl is essential when hiking with your dog. Make sure you take frequent and small breaks along your way and offer your dog the opportunity to cool himself down.
- Bring over some of your dog’s favorite snacks/treats so you can reward and encourage behaviours that you like for example eye contact, walking beside you, coming back when called etc.
- Carrying poop bags and cleaning after your dog is essential and it shows that you are a responsible owner and you care about others.
- Having a brush with you is also a good idea as you may need to remove any foxtails, burrs or even ticks from your dog’s skin. Check all of their body and the paws thoroughly and use dog friendly wet wipes to clean and fresh up their fur.
- It is also advisable to be equipped with a small first aid kit that will at least include disposable gloves, gauze pads, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape and tweezers.
- Make sure you purchase an insect repellent and apply it to your dog before your hike. Spot on treatments, flea and tick collars, pills or sprays are considered some of the best ways to protect your dog from contracting any disease. Your vet will be able to suggest what is good for your dog.
Consider your dog’s limits
It’s important to take into consideration your dog’s breed, age, physical condition and personality.
- The short nosed breeds (Pugs, boxers, Bulldogs etc) are more prone to heat stroke and exhaustion especially in warm days due to their respiratory difficulties. If you own a brachycephalic dog breed, consult your vet about the idea of hiking.
- The age of your dog is also something that you need to think about. Puppies’ bones are developed until they reach 1 year of age and for large and giant breeds can last more, therefore an intense exercise such as hiking can cause them pain or future development issues. On the other hand, senior dogs can be susceptible in joint pains or arthritis making the hiking an unpleasant and tiring experience for them. If you want to take your senior dog on a hike, please make sure you give them loads of breaks and keep your hike short.
- Some dogs are not considered the best company for long hikes so if your dog is more of a couch potato and enjoys hanging out with you at home instead of an adventurous hike, please respect it and don’t push them to do something they don’t really like.
Hiking with your dog in extreme weather conditions is never recommended as it can cause heat stroke in the summer and hypothermia in the winter. Early in the morning is probably the best time for hiking during summer. If you hike during winter, it’s best to do it in the afternoon as the weather is warmer.
Respect other people
Going to a public place with your dog means that you will come across other people, children, dogs or even wild animals. It is important to respect everyone along your hike and give them space if they seem to need it. Our number one priority should be safety and protection.
Taking in to consideration all the above tips, hiking with your dog is a wonderful experience and it is highly recommended if you and your dog are both adventurous and always seeking opportunities to explore new places and exercise yourselves. Don’t wait, start today!