If you love the great outdoors and hiking is your thing, then taking your dog on outings with you is a fantastic idea. Not only will you enjoy their company, but they'll also love the bonding experience. Hiking trails provide your dog with excellent opportunities for social interaction, new sights and smells, and time with you.
The idea of taking them on a hike may seem overwhelming if it's your first time, but the process can be streamlined. You can be organized for you and your dog's benefit and to have a safe, pleasant time together.
Related: 10 Best Dog Parks in Los Angeles
Why Should You Go Hiking With Your Dog?
Hiking is such a great experience, so why go to the added trouble of taking your dog along? Hiking together can optimize your experience and give your dog all the mental and physical health benefits that hiking provides you. After all, you aren't the only one who can benefit from fresh air, exercise, and nature's beauty!
Here are a few good reasons to take your dog hiking:
- It can prevent future health issues.
- It combats doggie obesity.
- It strengthens their canine core.
- It reduces stress and anxiety.
- It gives your dog the opportunity to learn and practice new commands and skills.
- It is mentally stimulating.
- It reinforces the bond between the two of you.
- It improves their sleep.
How Do I Prepare My Dog For a Hike?
Before you reach for your dog's leash, you should do a few things to prepare your dog for a hike.
- Have a chat with your vet. Ensure your dog is physically ready for the demands of hiking. Consider building your dog's endurance by taking them for longer walks and then on short hikes.
- Do your research. When you look for dog-friendly hikes, make sure you learn the rules and follow them - check to see where or if a leash is required. The rules ensure that everyone using the trails is safe and happy.
- Be prepared for varying weather conditions - heat, cold, and rain. Pack waterproofs, sunscreen, insect repellant formulated for dogs, and dog boots.
Dog Gear Essential For Hiking
It's essential to carry all the gear you and your dog need for your hike. What you have to take depends on the terrain, time of year, and the length of your excursion. Here are some dog gear essentials for your hike.
- Your dog's paws are vulnerable to burns, frost, or punctures when taking hikes. But a high-quality set of dog boots, like RIFRUF's authentic dog sneakers, will protect them. These 100% cruelty-free sneakers are made of the same materials as your running sneakers, and produced similarly. These aren't your typical dog boots! They're lightweight, durable, and stylish, available in a variety of colors and styles. So remember to bring along your dog's shoes.
- Food and water containers. Your dog will need to keep up their strength during the hike, so food and plenty of water are essential. Bring along plenty of water for both of you. Bring a collapsible water bowl if your dog isn't trained to drink from a bottle.
Under normal circumstances, your dog can go up to 10 hours without water. But taking your dog on a hike means that they'll require water more frequently than usual.
- Remember your leash and harness (if you use one). There may be places where a leash isn't required, but there may be places where it's safer for your dog or others.
- Carry a portable first aid kit with you. Accidents happen, and you don't want to be caught out without a kit. Make sure you have compression tape for injured paws and an appropriate antihistamine for your dog.
- Bring appropriate doggie coats or apparel. Like you, your dog may feel a chill or need protection from rain or wind. So, remember waterproofs and sun-protective items.
- Another item to consider is a small doggie pack. This will allow your dog to carry some of the items you'll need on your hike.
- Ensure your dog's ID is securely fastened to their collar and that your contact information is included on the tag.
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Essential Training Commands Your Dog Should Know Before Hiking
For your dog's safety and others on the trail, your dog should respond to your commands. Here are some they should respond to immediately:
- Leave it
Take Extra Precautions During Hunting Season
It may be necessary to take extra precautions to ensure your dog's safety during hunting season. Consider putting a brightly-colored or reflective vest on your dog and bear bells so that hunters won't mistake them for prey. You should also wear something bright or reflective for the same reason. Additionally, keep your dog on a leash in hunting areas, so they won't run off and have to deal with hunting dogs.
Be Aware Of Dangerous Plant and Wildlife
Another thing to keep in mind is that your curious dog may encounter plant-based toxins. They can get oil from poison oak or poison ivy onto their fur and pass it on to you. Make sure you can identify those plants.
Your dog is also in danger of encountering wildlife in the area. Their keen senses can warn you long before you see or hear anything. If your dog starts barking, there could be danger near. Know what wildlife you might see and learn how you can avoid confrontations. Remember to take a can of bear spray if you're in bear country and keep your dog close to you.
Taking your dog along on your hiking adventures is a fantastic idea. It can be enjoyable for both of you. Just remember to do your research, learn the specific hike rules, and be prepared to have a great day.
Does your dog’s walk include scorching sidewalks in the summer and icy snow in the winter? Their paws can use some protection. Check out our product line at RIFRUF to learn more.