Hiking is a great way to stay active and to enjoy the outdoors and all that nature has to offer. When you head out to the trails, why not bring your best friend. You may have already guessed that I am talking about your dog. Dogs are great companions and wonderful family members, why not treat them by including them in your fun activities. If you do choose to take your furry friend along with you, you will need to make sure you have a few things on hand.
The most important thing for both the human and canine hiker is water. You should always carry sufficient water for yourself, and 1 to 2 quarts of water for your dog. This will ensure that you are prepared even if your hike lasts longer than you planned, or if there are no water sources available on the trail. A collapsible water dish is also great as some dogs don’t like to drink from running water. Dehydration can be very dangerous for your pup, so make sure to pay attention to any signals that they may give you. These could include hiding from the sun and laying down under leaves or brush. You should keep some treats or snacks with you to energize your dog if they get tired or need some sustenance to carry on.
Keep in mind that while you wear shoes, preferably hiking boots, your dog is hoofing it barefoot. You can pick up a pair of doggie boots fairly inexpensively at a sporting good store and some pet stores. If your dog is happy wearing these, they can be a great way to protect their sensitive paws. Some dogs however, just can’t get on board with wearing shoes. If this is the case, make sure to bring along bandages and first aid ointment in case of scratches or cuts. Stop and check the dogs paws frequently for injury and if you notice your dog favoring one paw, check him immediately. Depending on the terrain, they may be cut, or have something stuck in one of their pads.
You should always keep your dog on a leash. This prevents them from straying too far and keeps them safe from predators that they may not understand (snakes for example). Also, make sure that your dog has his tags on including identification and rabies notification. It can also be helpful to have your dog micro chipped in case they get out of their collar.
Other things that you should keep on hand are cleanup bags for poop. Every pet owner knows that cleaning up after your dog is a necessary evil. Please, keep the trails clean for others to enjoy as well. Know your dogs limitations and be prepared. It is the best way to ensure a fun experience for you and your four legged buddy.