If you are a dog owner and you love to hike, your dog should be one companion you should always take along. Dogs love to get out and explore and it is great for you and your pet.
Here are some helpful tips from the ASPCA on how to keep your pet safe when out hiking:
- Extending leashes are great for wide open spaces, but if your romp is taking you through wooded areas, it’s best to leave the flexi-leads at home. Otherwise, you’ll probably spend more time untangling your dog’s leash from trees and brush than you will enjoying your walk!
- If your pup is the trustworthy sort and you want to give him the opportunity to enjoy some untethered time on your hike, first make sure that dogs are allowed to be off-leash in the area you’re exploring. Second, be sure that he responds reliably to your recall command—even the most obedient dog might bolt after some fascinating new critter.
- Hard to believe, but not everyone is as enamored with dogs as we are! Some people get very nervous around unleashed dogs. As a courtesy, have a leash on standby to clip to your dog when encountering other hikers.
- Whether you’re using a leash or not, don’t forget IDs, please! Always make sure that your current contact information, including your cell phone number, is attached to your dog’s collar or body harness. If for any reason your pet gets lost, a collar and tags and a microchip will increase the likelihood that he or she will be returned to you.
- You never know what you may encounter on a hike—so before setting out into the wilderness, check your pet’s veterinary records and make sure his vaccinations are up-to-date.
- Training tip: Teach your dog to come to you for treats whenever you pass by other hikers, especially if they have dogs, too. Your dog will learn to not interfere with passersby, and at the same time, you’re ensuring he associates new people and dogs with good things, like tasty treats from you.
- If a poop falls in the woods and no one else sees it, do you get a free pass? NO! There’s no such thing as a victimless poop. Please have respect for your surroundings, native wildlife and fellow hikers by scooping up after your dog and toting the baggie back to civilization if there are no trash cans around.
- Both of you need to stay hydrated, so bring enough water for two. Don’t allow your pup to drink from puddles, ponds, lakes or streams—in other words, “nature’s dog bowls”—as they may contain nasty parasites or toxins that could cause her harm.
Always check periodically during and after the hike for ticks or anything else that may be unwanted or dangerous.
Do you take your dog hiking on a regular basis and do you have a set of rules you follow that you can share with our readers below?