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Whether you’re celebrating National Take a Hike Day (November 17th!) or just looking for dog hiking tips for a weekend outing, you’ve come to the right place! While getting outdoors and exploring nature with your dog sounds great, there are important dog hiking tips and safety items that you shouldn’t leave without. Proper planning is the easiest way to make sure you and your dog both have an excellent adventure!
1) Grab a Pet First Aid Kit. Knowing the ABC’s of pet first aid isn’t just good pet parenting, it can spare your dog a serious infection or injury if they get injured on the trail.
You can find a kit at many outdoor retailers or specialty pet shops, making them pretty easy to find!
2) Confirm Vaccines are current. Vaccinations are a personal choice for every pet parent, but make sure that your dog is current on the vaccines you and your Vet have agreed upon.
Having your current paperwork will make it much easier if there is an emergency visit to the animal hospital closest to your hiking destination.
3) Read the Trail Regulations. Check on the dog rules for the trail. Are dogs welcome? Are they allowed off leash? How long is it?
Knowing the trail regulations and etiquette is one the most important dog hiking tips. Following regulations allow you and your dog to maintain friendly relationships with other hikers.
Tools of the Trade
4) Pack LOTS of water. Overestimate how much water you will need. Water and a water bowl are two of the most important things you can pack. Many companies now make tough, silicone collapsible bowls so they’re easier to pack.
In addition to water, you can look into a dog-friendly water flavoring to add to their water before you leave. This can help encourage them to drink and mitigate the stress of being away from home.
5) Have Your Dog Carry a Pack. Between your sunscreen, your dog’s food and a camera to capture all the scenic vistas, your backpack is probably full!
Getting a pack for your dog to carry will alleviate what you have to carry as well as help your dog feel useful.
6) Bring Healthy Food and Treats. Your dog will get hungry on the trail, so it’s always helpful to pack some food or treats. While the amount will vary depending on the length of your hike, there are common treat types that will help your dog stay fueled for any trip.
Pick treats and food that are high in protein and will help replace the calories lost during exercise!
7) Don’t Forget the Leash. While seeing your dog run free without a leash is a great sight as a pet parent, don’t forget to pack your leash. Even if trail regulations permit off-leash time, it’s courteous to keep your pet on a leash on busy trails.
In addition, if you’re out in the wilderness, you never know what animal (or plant!) is just around the corner. Most guides recommend looking into as harness if you have an active pet or to bring two leashes in different lengths for best maneuverability.
On the Trail
8) Watch Their Paws. Your dog’s paws are extremely delicate. If you plan on hiking over rocks or snow, or in 70+ degree temperature, it might be wise to invest in a pair of booties to protect their paws from cuts and scrapes.
No boots at home? Be sure to stop and check your dog’s paws regularly for cuts, scrapes, bruises or rocks stuck between the toes.
If you see any cuts on their pads, take them to a vet after the hike in case they get an infection. If your dog ever shows signs of pain or slowing down on the trail, they need your help.
9) Check for Ticks and Poison Ivy. Obviously, your dog’s health is priority number one. Stopping to check the trail ahead for Poison Ivy and poisonous plants will help your dog stay safe and injury-free.
In addition, make sure to check for ticks both during and after the hike. You can find a neat tool like this one or contact your vet for the best way to remove it.
10) Pick Up Their Poop. While you might be tempted to leave your dog’s poop ‘out in the wild’, some poop bags and a Ziplock bag (for your nose!) will earn you lots of trail karma points.
Dog poop contains diseases that could contaminate water sources, so it’s always wise to bag it and trash it.
Still looking for more tips? Check out our Adventure with your Pet Pinterest board.
Hopefully, you found some helpful dog hiking tips and information to plan a safe and fun trail expedition! If you’ve already hit the trails this year, send us a photo–we’d love to feature it! As always, if you think we’re missing some information, leave it in the comments below or email email@example.com.
All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and reflect the views of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the organization.
Redbarninc.com makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use.
All information is provided on an as-is basis. Please note that each situation is different, and you should always consult your veterinarian should you have any questions about your pet’s health.
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