Hiking is a great way for your dog – and you – to get some much-needed exercise. But it’s important to understand what your pet’s physical limitations are and how to keep him safe during your fun journey. REI offered some expert tips in a recent post that will help ensure you and your dog have a happy hiking trip this summer.
REI offers a comprehensive guide on what to bring and how to find the right gear. The list includes dog coats, packs and cooling may also be on your must-bring list. Here are our favorite tips provided by the REI author on her dog Kiwi.
If you’re planning a hike with your dog this summer, be sure to share this with all your hiking buddies!
One of Kiwi’s least favorite items is her dog booties. When I lived back in Michigan, I made her wear them nearly all winter because the salt used on the sidewalks was quite damaging to her paw pads. Now, I usually just bring them with me. If I see her paws are getting chilly I’ll slip them on.
Likewise, once she got a small cut on rocky terrain, and she was very thankful for the extra protection. I will whip out her boots, much to Kiwi’s dismay, when there is any snow on the ground, when it’s raining and near freezing temperatures, when we’re scrambling up rocky areas or if we’re on rock and it’s above 70 and sunny.
It’s always good advice: Watch what your dog drinks! Water in lakes and rivers can contain algae or parasites that can make your dog sick or even cause death in extreme cases. Keep plenty of fresh water on hand and train your dog to drink out of his or her bowl.
This works well, but Kiwi’s love of chasing the waves means she always ends up ingesting a lot of water if I let her have this freedom. I learned that salt water can be extremely unpleasant. Now, I make sure I don’t let her play too long when we’re near the ocean. Ensure that your dog drinks a lot of fresh water afterwards; salt dehydrates dogs.
It’s important to remove the salt, chemicals and extra stuff that may be floating in the water and end up on your dog’s coat. Also, if you have a dog with ears that flop down it’s a good idea to rinse out their ears or at the very least make sure you dry them out to help prevent any infection or irritation.
Again, each dog is different. Some dogs will plop down when they start to get worn out, but others will play until you make them stop, even when they are exhausted. It’s better to be safe than put your dog in danger, so learn your dog’s limits slowly so that you can ensure they enjoy the water safely.
3 More Rules to Remember when Hiking with your Dog
1. Know Proper Trail Etiquette and Regulations
Know what the local regulations are before you head out for your hike. You may be surprised to learn that most national parks in the U.S. don’t allow dogs to share trails.
Etiquette is also important. Make sure that your dog is on a leash at all times, and that leash should be 6 feet or less. It’s also important to keep your dog calm as other people and dogs pass you by.
2. Know Your Dog’s Physical Limitations
You may be ready to hike that challenging trail, but is your dog ready? Ease your pup into the idea of hiking. If you plan on having your pet carry some of your gear, start out by having him wear a pack around the house. Eventually, have him wear a pack on short and longer walks until he gets used to it.
3. Be Prepared
- Bring a First Aid kit. Consider taking a class at the Red Cross or Petco, so you know what to do in emergency situations.
- Don’t forget to pack for your pup, either. Bring along food and water for the trip.
- If you plan on spending the night, be sure to bring appropriate sleeping gear for your pup. If it’s cold, consider bringing along an extra sleeping bag – especially if your pup is short-haired.
Oh, and don’t forget to let your dog actually enjoy the hike. Otherwise, he may just wind up like these dogs who took the lazy way out.
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