Hiking with your loyal companion can be an adventure of a lifetime… as long as you are well-prepared. In this article, we will discuss hiking with your favorite buddy… from planning on what to prepare for your whole hiking experience, this article will extensively provide you insights in order for you to have a safe hiking trip with your dog.
Hiking is a great outdoor activity if you love nature and serenity. Bringing your dog alongside you can be stimulating to them as they do scentwork and explore the beauty of nature around them. Thus, hitting the trail with your buddy gives a wonderful opportunity to strengthen your bond and improve physical fitness. Once you reach the peak of your hiking destination, it can also be a wonderful opportunity to meditate and relax, which can reduce your stress and anxiety levels.
Hiking is a very fun activity to experience with your favorite dog. However, when you don’t plan things ahead and don’t know what to expect, you might end up in sticky situations. Moreover, equipment can go very handy as it can make things easier and safer for you and your dog. This article will help you prepare for your trail adventure. We will discuss the pet accessories that you should bring along with you, optional equipment that are guaranteed to make your adventure easier, as well as necessary tips that you should follow to ensure safety for the two of you.
THE MUST-HAVE HIKING GEAR THAT YOU NEED TO PREPARE:
Dog collars aren’t only used in conjunction with a leash, but they also serve as an identification accessory in case your dog gets lost during hiking.
2. Dog leash:
This accessory can be useful especially if your dog likes to go out and about too much, making it hard for you to restrict their movement. A leash can be helpful to keep them on the same track as you, in order to avoid your dog getting lost. Moreover, it would be ideal if the leash has a reflective bungee feature so that it can aid you during walks on low-light.
3. Poop bag:
Of course, stepping in dog poop is the last thing that you want to happen for you. So even if you don’t mind this experience yourself, you should also consider others. Bring some plastic bags or ziploc bags on your hiking adventure so that you can pick up and dispose of their poop properly.
4. First Aid Kit:
Accidents may happen so it’s good to be prepared. You can either purchase a first aid kit with necessary dog supplies or you can make your own as an alternative. Usually, a dog first aid kit consists of a guide for pet first aid, a saline solution, an antiseptic, antihistamines, gauze, ointment, tweezers, blood clotting powder, cotton swabs and supplies that are necessary for your safety such as flashlight, alcohol and band-aids.
5. Portable water bowl:
Don’t forget to take breaks! You and your dog need to have a water and snacks break to avoid dehydration and loss of energy. To make it easier for you, opt for a collapsible water bowl or a regular water bottle so that it’s easier to carry. Thus, if you’re uncertain if you can carry the required amount of water needed for your pup to stay hydrated during the whole trip, a portable water filter or water purifying tablets can be very helpful.
6. Dog shoes:
Protect their paws with a pair of dog shoes as too much walking on the trails can sore or rip their pads which can be very painful for them.
Preparation is key in order to avoid accidents and other sticky situations that you don’t want to experience with your dog. Here is the preparation guide that you should follow before hiking:
- Teach your dog cues to keep them safe especially when they encounter fellow dogs, other people, trail animals and wildlife. The important cues are: SIT, STAY, COME, and DROP IT.
- Don’t forget to prepare food, water and treats for you and your dog.
- Train yourself for endurance– hiking is a very long walk so endurance-building can give you an idea on what to expect on your long trail adventure.
- Train your dog for endurance– this is very important especially if your dog is not used to long walks. Training them can help your pup keep up with your pace during the hiking process.
- Research about which hiking places are dog-approved. It is important to know which parks allow visitors to bring their pets with them and what are the rules in those areas.
- Make sure that your dog has the necessary vaccinations and parasite preventives for the activity. If uncertain about this, visit your local vet for more information. This step is also necessary to see if your dog is fit for the activity or not.
What to Expect During Hiking
Once you are fully prepared and the day has come to hike with your dog, there are things that you need to consider during your hiking experience.
- Leave no trace behind— as a manner of etiquette, if your dog poops on the trail, DON’T forget to pack up their waste using a plastic and ziploc bag, bring it with you until you find a proper place to dispose of it.
- Watch out for your dog— your dog might exhibit signs of stress or exhaustion so watch them as often as you can. If they show such signs, rehydrate them and feed them with treats and let them rest for a few minutes or until they recover.
- Follow local health guidelines-– since we are still living with the covid-19 pandemic, it is important to wear a face mask and follow the health and safety protocols of your locale.
BONUS: EQUIPMENTS THAT CAN BE VERY HANDY FOR HIKING
1. Dog Backpack Carrier:
We talked about the possibility of stress and exhaustion for your dog, if they’re showing signs of exhaustion, it would be appropriate to put them inside a backpack carrier if you want to continue walking.
2. Hands-free dog leash:
Ideally, a leash should be brought with you during hiking, but a hands-free leash is more ideal than retractable leashes. Why? Because it has more safety features than regular retractable leashes. A hands-free dog leash can help eliminate the hassle during hiking trips and other outdoor activities because it helps you do other things while walking with your dog. Thus, it has three main safety features which are:
– Durable clasp
– Reflective bungee
– Heavy-duty belt buckle