There is nothing more rewarding than spending quality time with your beloved pooch and there are a variety of ways you can do this. You can curl up on the couch together, or you may go for a walk in the park, or you may opt for a good old fashioned game of “catch”. But, as an exciting alternative, you may even consider taking your pooch along on a hike.
But, before you decide to take your furry friend along on a hike though, here are a 8 important things you would need to consider, especially if your beloved pooch has never been hiking with you before.
- Age, size and physical health
- General (daily) level of activity
- Level of physical fitness
- Up to date on vaccinations
- Appropriate breed to hike
- Appropriate collar and leash
- Training before you attempt a hike
It is also advisable to discuss your idea with your local Veterinarian and to take your pooch for a checkup before you go on the hike. There are also a variety of safety precautions you would have to follow, to ensure that the hike is pleasant experience for both you and your pooch.
Although this can be exciting quality time between you and your furry friend, it is vitally important to ensure that your pooch is happy and safe at all times and you would therefore need to ensure taking the following items with you, on the day of your hike.
• Dog sunscreen
• A First aid kit
• Fresh water, food and treats
• A collapsible bowl
• A bed and a blanket
• A Towel (to dry or clean your dog)
• A durable collar and leash (appropriate for a hike)
• Ensure that your pooch has ID tags
• Protective booties for rough terrain (or snow or ice)
• Bags for waste
• A snake bite kit (depending on the area)
• The appropriate travel gear (for the care)
• A doggie backpack – But only if your pooch is used to hiking
• Ensure not to feed your pooch a big meal before the hike
• Don’t forget to take your pooch for a chekup before the hike
If you intend on hiking for more than one day, you would also need to ensure that you take your beloved pooch’s kennel along, as well as enough water, food and treats, to last throughout the duration of the hike. It is also important to take regular breaks, in order to ensure that your furry friend does not dehydrate or tire out.
There are also other critters, which you would need to consider, such as ticks, fleas, parasites, worms and viruses. Depending on the area where you hike, you may also have to be on the alert for snakes, bears, mountain lions, porcupines, poison ivy and other dangerous plants. After all, you want this hike to be both an enjoyable and quality time adventure for both you and your beloved furry friend.
There are a variety of breeds which make excellent hiking partners, such as huskies, border collies, german shepherds, malamutes, beagles, labrador retrievers and boxers, to mention a few. But, generally working, herding or sporting dogs make for better hiking partners than smaller breeds. So, one should never consider taking your tiny baby along on a hike.
During your hike, it is important to choose an area where hunting is not permitted, as this can pose its own set of dangers to both you and your pooch. Therefore, ensure to choose a safe hiking trail, where dogs are allowed and which is either near your home or an emergency veterinarian clinic. Also ensure that you do not choose secluded hiking trails, but rather a trail where there may be other people around.
There are also other important factors, which you would need to consider during your hike, such as the following:
• Ensure to keep your pooch on a leash at all times during the hike
• Ensure that there is some form of shade on your hiking trail
• Ensure to stop for frequent breaks (in the shade)
• Avoid dangerous terrain, loose rocks and steep cliffs
• Avoid bears, snakes, mountain lions, coyotes and porcupines
• Avoid dangerous plants, such as poison ivy and oak etc.
• Avoid long grass, if possible (to avoid ticks and fleas)
• Inspect your pooch after the hike, to ensure that he or she has no ticks or fleas
Hiking with your pooch can be an amazing experience, so if you plan correctly and you and your pooch head out prepared; your hike will not only be an exciting and pleasurable experience for both you, but it will also count for amazing quality time together, out in nature.
Love, The PetsWell Team