Before You Go
Bringing your dog along for a hike is both fun and beneficial to you and your dogs’ health. Before starting out make sure you dog is fit enough for the hike you have planned. Keep the weather in mind when you have a strenuous activity planned, try to go early or late in the day to stay out of the intense heat. This is important with short nose breeds. They may have difficulty breathing in extreme heat.
Make sure your dog has a flea and tick preventative of some type and make sure it is up to date. Also, make sure your dog is properly vaccinated and that all of the shots are up to date.
What to bring
Here are the items you want to be sure have with you;
- A properly fitted collar or harness (make sure your dog can’t slip out of it)
- A sturdy leash for walking or securing your dog. Note – WE DO NOT RECOMMEND retractable leads for hiking.
- Current ID tags if your dog is not microchipped
- Car restraint – either a crate or seatbelt
- Bed or blanket to lie on in your car. Remember your dog is likely to get very dirty
- Fresh water and a collapsible bowl
- Treats and food (if you will be gone a long time or the hike is strenuous)
- Doggie bags for waste
- First aid kit and snake bite kit
- Towel to clean your dog
- Dog sunscreen/wet towel
- Doggie backpack for sharing the load. Use only if your dog is used to doing this. A fit dog can carry about 20% of his body weight.
- Tick removal tool
Some things to consider
Dogs are very curious by nature and may not have the good sense to stay out of trouble. Here are few hazards you may encounter.
Standing Water – stagnant water may contain parasites and bacteria that can be harmful to your dog.
Poisonous Plants – remember leaves of three. Watch out for poison ivy, oak and sumac.
Bears – when hiking deep in the woods be mindful of bears, especially in the spring and fall.
Snakes – know what types of poisonous snakes are in the area. Generally poisonous snakes have diamond or triangle shaped heads while non-poisonous snake’s heads are rounder. Copperheads and rattlesnakes are found locally.
Logs – many animals and snakes make their homes in fallen logs. Try to keep your dog from sticking his snout in them, he may get an unpleasant surprise.
Rock Formations – same goes for rock formations. Snakes and other small animals make their homes in them and bears may den in larger crevices.
Obey local leash laws and please keep your dog on a leash unless you are sure you have full control over your dog. Keep in mind other dogs may not be friendly and an approaching dog may trigger aggressive behavior.
After Your Hike
Check your dogs for ticks. Thoroughly go over his coat and remove any ticks at once. Clean your dog’s pads and feet. Be sure to get any debris out of the webbing in the feet. Check for any cuts or abrasions. If the trail was messy or your dog was in either brush or water a bath is good idea once you get home.