Hiking with dogs is a healthy and enjoyable outdoor activity. However, sometimes an accident could happen unexpectedly. To ensure having a fun and safe hike, I learned advice from the article – A GUIDE TO BRINGING YOUR BEST FRIEND ON THE TRAIL.
Before loading up your backpack
1. Make an honest assessment for your dog
Know your dog’s fitness level, health condition is to ensure your dog can comfortably go to the trail.
Hiking is more energy-consuming than walking. It is not enough if your dog only have casual walking daily before hitting the trail. It needs a ton of more exercises.
In addition to its fitness level, health considerations could be another concern. Remember that an elder dog should carefully be assessed.
2. Choose a trail wisely for both your dog and you
Not every hike is dog-friendly. Those elements that seem attractive to you but could pose a danger to your dog.
Generally speaking, a dog owner should practically choose a trail based on your dog’s age, breed and experience. Besides the length of the route, the considerations also include cliffs, ladders and water on the route.
All in all, make sure your pup is fit for the trail. This principle should also apply for dog owners as well.
When hitting the trail
1. Measure safety elements
Weather – A dog owner could adjust the destination and plan accordingly. Facing hot and humid weather, a flat route to a lake is a better choice than a steep, rocky scramble up an epic 3,000-footer. Or save hiking for another time.
Dog behaviour & body – If you notice your dog lying down, panting intensely or foaming at the mouth, these are all signs they need to cool down, slow down and possibly turnaround.
Route condition – Help your dog to jump off a cliff and avoid ladders. When approaching cliffs, you can put your dog on a leash and keep it calm and close.
2. Keep canine trail etiquette
It is unnecessary to train your dog becomes a mountain-savvy. However, a dog with well-behaved is essential to the hiking trail.
First of all, your dog should have trained to follow your verbal command so that you can keep your dog with you and under control at all times, even when its off leash.
Canine train etiquette includes not to disturb plants or wildlife and give other hikers the right of way. Using Leave No Trace principles, carry out or bury dog waste in a hole and make sure the hole is at least 200 feet from water sources.
After getting off the trail
Always check your dog’s whole body for ticks, cuts and burns. A post-hike bath would be necessary.