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    Hiking With Dogs - This Is How You Do It

    Two men and a dog look into a valley

    Hiking with your dog can be a wonderful bonding experience for you both. After all, getting outside, exploring your area, exercising, and breathing in the fresh air is important for both humans and pets alike. When training your dog to hike with you, there’s a little more involved than simply walking out the door. Read these important tips for successfully hiking with dogs.

    How To Prepare  

    Before you can go out and hike with your pet, there are some supplies you’ll need to prepare beforehand. These include:

    • A lightweight backpack that can carry water and food for you and your pup
    • A hiking dog collar with up to date tags. Your pet should remain with you at all times, but it’s important to be prepared if you get separated 
    • Ensure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. Additionally, look into insurance so your pup can always get the care it needs
    • A sturdy leash. You’ll want to skip the retractable kind since those can get caught and twisted on objects more easily outdoors, especially if you’re hiking with a puppy
    • A bright light, vest, or bandana. Depending on where you walk, there may be hunters, and you want to ensure nobody mistakes you or your pet for a different animal 

    It’s also wise to read up on how to best protect your canine outdoors. For example, what to do if you see a snake or if your pet is injured on the trail. Having this knowledge in the back of your mind can help you hike more confidently.

    What To Avoid 

    Dogs with heart diseases might not be the best candidates for hiking. It’s important to consider the overall physical health of your pet before making a plan. For instance, a short hike on even terrain might be better for your pup than the rockier, longer trails are. 

    Fear in canines can be a serious problem for many pet owners. Hiking has the power to take a pup out of its regular routine and introduce it to new things. Therefore, closely watch for any changes in its anxiety and fear levels. For fearful pets, the exercise that comes along with hiking can be invaluable for letting out that pent up energy and stress.

    Be Mindful Of Others 

    Even if your pup behaves wonderfully off-leash, hiking can come with a set of different concerns. If your trail is populated, you might have other dog owners who are less comfortable with a canine off-leash. Moreover, there could be families with small children who may get frightened. 

    Nature isn’t always so welcoming of canines who like to smell and explore as they walk. Snakes, bees, porcupines, and skunks can be lurking around a tree or under a rock. Therefore, it’s important that your pet remains by your side. 

    Watch The Weather 

    Dehydration in dogs is a serious problem, especially if you choose to hike in weather conditions that are too warm. Overexposure to heat can cause your pet to become seriously ill and sick while on the trail, so be sure to choose a time when the weather is safe. 

    Even in perfect weather, try to ensure some shady breaks with water. The pads on your canine’s feet are sensitive. What feels like good weather to you might mean painful paws for your pet.

    Make A Plan  

    As a pet owner, you know your furry friend quite well. If your pup isn’t the fittest or doesn’t love to go for long walks, you’ll need to start your outdoor adventures slowly. Your pet might need time to build up strength and endurance. 

    Be mindful of your pup’s breed as well. Canines that have short muzzles are especially vulnerable to heat and shouldn’t walk for long distances. 

    Consult Your Vet 

    It’s wise to consult your vet before introducing your pet to a new activity like hiking. Regular vet visits will ensure you remain up to date with your dog’s health. This will help you determine if your pet is fit to hike or not. Look into dog health insurance to learn more about covering the cost of vet visits, vaccinations, surgeries, and so forth.

    Bottom Line 

    Exploring the great outdoors with your pup can be beneficial in a multitude of ways. With proper procedures in place, you and your furry family member can safely enjoy a day in nature. Adventuring outside can entertain your pup with a variety of new sights and smells. Moreover, hikes help fight against obesity in canines by providing much-needed exercise.