Going hiking is a great way to get out of the house, get some exercise, and enjoy the world around you all at the same time. If you can take your dog with you on your hike, that’s all that better. Of course, as a pet owner, you’re probably aware of how difficult it can be to take your pet places and have everything go smoothly. Here’s a helpful checklist of things you should keep in mind next time you want to take your dog on a hike.
Are Dogs Allowed There?
This is obviously the most important thing to check, as not all places allow dogs. Most national parks, for instance, do not allows dogs on hiking trails. For state or local parks, do your best to find out ahead of time if dogs are welcome. You should also find out about any leash laws in these parks, although it’s best to keep your dog on a leash in an unfamiliar environment anyway.
How Challenging Are the Trails?
Not all trails are created equal, and some can be rather difficult for your canine friend. You may be ready to tackle a challenge trail, but the same may not be true for your dog. Find out as much as you can about the trails beforehand to see if your dog can handle it. It may be best to take your dog on short hikes and slowly work up towards longer or more challenging trails.
Ready for Interaction?
Is your dog prepared for interaction with other dogs and possibly other animals? It’s important to know this beforehand, because your dog is bound to find unfamiliar animals on the hiking trail. If your dog is aggressive toward other animals, hiking may not be a great idea. Your dog also needs to respond to all commands so they will sit or stay when told to do so.
Prepared for the Elements?
When hiking, you should be dressed for the occasion, but so should your dog. If it’s going to be cold, your dog may need a coat, depending on how much fur it has. If it’s going to be hot and humid, soaking a dog vest in water can help keep your dog cool. Dog boots are also a possibility if the terrain is rocky.
Food and Water
This should be obvious, but it never hurts to reiterate that you need to bring enough food and water to sustain your dog during your hike. You’ll also need to bring along a portable bowl or dish that your dog can use on the trail. When it comes to water, your dog will need at least a quart for every three miles of hiking, so if there’s no water available on the trail, you have to bring enough with you to keep your dog hydrated.
Don’t forget that you still need to bring bags to clean up after your dog if it does its business on the trail or anywhere else people may be walking. It may also be a good idea to bring a towel to either wash your dog or dry it off in case there’s a nearby lake your dog feels compelled to jump into.