Sharing one of your favorite activities such as hiking with your dog can be very exciting. Unfortunately, there is more to hiking with your pet than putting a leash on them and hitting the trails.
We spoke with local dog walking expert, Mark Rudeen of Here Rover, to get the best tricks of the trade when it comes to hiking with your dog!
Preparing Your Dog for A Hike
Knowing your dog’s ability to withstand long walks and being able to gauge the level of rigor they can withstand is crucial to safely hiking with your dog. Mark notes that dog walking services such as Here Rover, offer a variety of tiered adventures for dogs that range from easy to difficult. Dogs are evaluated and then offered different hike options based on their ability levels.
Alongside these requirements, many professionals suggest snake aversion training. In areas where snakes are more prone to inhabit, this is a key safety lesson your dog should understand well.
Essential Hiking Items
“We always bring water and snacks […]. [We also] have harness belts that our hiking guides use to make sure the dogs are secured with the pack at all times,” explains Mark.
Bringing plenty of water is not only important for us humans, but furry hikers alike. The sun can be exhausting and cause heat stroke, which can be deadly. When opting for treats, select ones that offer your dog a high protein source and are meat based to keep them energized! Protective footgear can also be an important item to consider depending on where you are hiking.
Preparing for Emergencies
While hiking, it is important to know basic first aid for pets and carry items such as bandages, saline rinses, and anti-bacterial ointment. If you are a first-time hiker, start out with local hikes.
Mark suggests staying within a small enough radius that will allow you to visit a vet in case you have an unexpected emergency.
Hiking with Different Breeds
Although some larger breeds will be ideal for hiking, it doesn’t mean that smaller breeds should be left out of the fun! Most large breeds will fare well while hiking; however, you should still be cautious with certain long-haired breeds that are prone to heat exhaustion quickly. Dogs that have low endurance, difficulty with excessive exercise, or have difficulty breathing due to short snouts should also take it easy.
Mark suggests that all breeds can hike as long as you fit the trail to their ability level. If he is walking a group of smaller breed dogs, he and his staff will normally take them on an easier adventure.
Proper Trial Etiquette
“It is always important to share the path and never use biking trails,” Mark explains. You are prone to encounter other hikers on the same trails and knowing how to behave in this communal pastime is important.
Always remember pick up after your dog and never leave an ecological footprint. Encourage your dog to leave the wildlife alone and hiking will soon become a favorite activity for you and your dog!
Now that you know a few tricks of the trade, it’s time to hit the trails with your best friend. Don’t forget to keep hydrated!