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Hiking with Your Dog 101

Guest Post by Houda of DiamondPup.com

Jorge-flores-98842-unsplashIf you are an outdoors and adventure enthusiast, then you know that there is nothing better than leaving “real life” behind and going on a hike, taking in the fresh air and enjoying beautiful landscapes. If you have a dog, you might have been thinking about taking your best friend with you on a hike, but, maybe you don’t know where to start your prepping.

Don’t worry, hiking with a dog is actually not that difficult if you follow the few tips in this article, provided that you are already a hardened hiker. If this is your first time hiking, then my advice would be to leave your dog home until you become more experienced.

First of all, have a pre-hike trip to the vet

After all, even if you are only hiking for a day, many (bad) things could happen in just one day. So, just to be on the safe side of things, go to the veterinarian first, and make sure your dog is actually able to hike. Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date, and that his veterinarian does a full check-up before giving you the OK. In the end, nothing matters more than your dog’s health, and you don’t want him to get hurt when all you wanted was to have some fun and do some exercise.

Make sure your dog is properly trained

Most importantly, you have to be sure that your dog is under voice command, especially if you want to take him off his leash when it’s possible. If your dog goes running away as soon as you take him off it though, then don’t do it. It is better to keep him leashed than to be looking for him in a mountain environment where he could hurt sensitive wildlife or run into a wild animal.

Another thing to make sure of is that your dog is well socialized, since you will probably be meeting other people (and maybe theirs pets as well) on the hiking trail. This is especially important if your dog is from a breed that is difficult around crowds (such as the Blue Heeler for example).

Make sure the trail you choose is dog-friendly

Just like camping parks, some national parks do not allow dogs, even when they’re leashed. So, instead of going all the way for a hike and then coming back home with your tail between your legs (pun intended) because your dog wasn’t allowed, it would be better to just check online, and see which trails around you are dog-friendly and which ones aren’t. This website does a good job of gathering most dog-friendly hiking trails around the world, so don’t hesitate to take a quick virtual tour on it.

Pack lightly but smartly

If you are only going for a day, packing too much will just slow you down and put pressure on you and your best friend. Make sure your dog’s harness isn’t too tight nor too loose, and load the bags with everything necessary, such as light collapsible bowls, quality dog food (such as Merrick) that will give your pooch enough energy to keep on hiking, treats, and water. And, make sure the total weight doesn’t exceed one-third of your dog’s weight.

Pack your dog’s first aid kit

Not a lot of people think of it, but your pet’s first aid kit is just as important as yours. You can either buy one from a pet shop or make your own. If you want to make your own, be sure to have all of these components in it:

  • Gauze
  • Special pet bandages
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Surgical gloves
  • Tweezers (preferably ones that can remove ticks)
  • Painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicine
  • Ointments
  • Aspirin
  • Your dog’s medical paperwork (medications, vaccinations etc…)
  • Phone number of your veterinarian, poison control, and your personal information as well

Finally, remember to be safe

Stay hydrated, give your dog all the water he needs, have fun, and don’t think too much. Practice trail etiquette, only take your best friend off his leash in areas where it’s not prohibited, and don’t forget to always stay on trail, not only for your own safety, but also to preserve the forest and mountain’s flora and fauna.

About Houda of DiamondPup.com: I'm Houda, a full-time writer, traveller, and self-proclaimed dog person. I also make lame jokes, write poetry, and love eating weird food in faraway countries. Did I mention that I was a dog person?
Yeah, give me all the puppies, please.

Image: Photo by Jorge Flores on Unsplash

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