Hiking is a fun adventure experience. It can be most memorable and full of fun if you have your four-legged friend with you. A weekend outdoor adventure or a one-day hike or an overnight stay in the wild, your dog also needs the supplies to ensure that he is safe and comfortable all throughout the tough experience. You will be surprised to see how energetic dogs can be whenever they are around nature and beautiful scenery. But there are several things to bring and prepare for your dog before you head out to the wild. If you have plans of bringing your dog to a weekend hike, here are some tips that you may want to consider:
1. Know if dogs are allowed
When you hike with your dog, always be aware of rules and regulations when it comes to pets. In most US National Parks and other wild camping sites, dogs can be off-leashed on certain conditions. If your dog is prompt to obey voice command, whether it is your voice or another person, the site could be the perfect place for you to hike with your dog. If the dog obeys only your voice, it is best that you leave the dog at home or have him leashed all throughout the hiking adventure.
There are certain leash laws to check when hiking with dogs. Make sure that you are decided to obey all of them as you bring the dog along. This is to ensure that no one will be harmed, not even your dog, when you hit the trail off and hike. Leashes are a mandate in almost all places to protect the environment and the people around.
Prepare your dogs for the tough challenge
Remember that older dogs get their joints achy when they hike too long in the field. They get tired faster, which means that your dog needs to cool down and rest for a while for several times along the journey. Most dogs in their prime age are more active while puppies may show over activeness but such activities may cause the puppies to under develop. Hiking and adventure challenges may affect the puppy’s development stage.
2. Bring dog supplies
From dog food to dog shelter to dog clothes, it is important to have the supplies in your backpack when you hike. Even if it seems that your pet does not need one, bring it for emergency purposes. Bring food and treats, fresh water, food and water bowl, leash and dog collar with tag, bed and blanket, doggie bags, protective booties, first aid kit, hat, sunscreen, and doggie backpack.
Other things that you will need in your car for you and your dog include a water container of fresh water, or some bottles of clean drinking water, dog towel, nail clippers if you don’t want your dog’s nails to wreak havoc on the fabric of the tent or doggie bed, cooling collar to keep your dog cool, and medicines for your dog, just in case he gets sick along the way or during the activities. Take a small break during the activities for water and snacks. You have to keep your dog rehydrated, especially if hiking is done under the heat of the sun. When you feed your dog, never let him drink from any standing water you see in the area because this may contain parasites or bacteria that will make your dog sick.
3. Be prepared for possible accidents or injuries
Your first aid kit is very useful and helpful in this situation, but if situation requires other medical attention, you are the one who should do it for your dog. Learn the basic about dog rescue when your dog gets trapped in a pile of woods or when your dog is burned. In case your dog slid down the hill and broke a joint, know how to apply the safest first aid to reduce the pain and to prevent severe damage. Before you head out into the outdoors, make sure you are equipped with the right knowledge and that you are brave enough to do it for your dog.
4. Have full control of your dog
At all times, you should have full control of your dog. It may not be enough to put the leash on him or to keep him away from people. There are times wherein dogs act and react on impulse. Keeping the dog calm is the right way to ensure that nothing wrong will happen along the hike or when in an adventure. Your six-foot leash will prevent a plethora of problems and accidents. Even if your dog is properly trained, or that he knows how to listen to voice command during tough times, having the leash on him will never put you on uncontrolled situation.
Your dog can be a possible threat to other hikers as well. Some hikers may not be pleased to see dogs around, probably because they have allergies, or they are not dog lovers while some love dogs that they want to touch and cuddle yours. For whatever reasons, be prepared of their reaction and control your dog. Keep your dog close to you and out of their way, especially when they pass over the area. Another thing to consider is the behavior of your dog when around plants or wildlife. Do not let him to be overly excited to jump and run around the area or he may destroy some plants or bother other creatures. Keeping your dogs under control will also prevent threat and harm to other life present in the area.
5. Give your dog a comfortable place to sleep
The size of your tent may not be enough for you and your dog. Prepare a backcountry doggie bed for him and let him have a comfortable sleep near you. This will ensure that your dog will get a good rest and less of the stress. If you haven’t buy any sleeping system yet, consider your dog when you choose one. Do not forget to pack them before you hit the trail together.
Sleeping and resting is not only needed at night. Your dog needs a little rest once in a while during the hike or during the day. Make sure you have a small piece of padded cloth in your bag where your dog can rest for an hour.
6. Beware of trail hazards
When you think of safety, some of the most common incident that dogs experience when hiking are heat stroke, allergies, concerns about other creatures, plants and pathogens being encountered in the wild. Learn how you can help your dog when situations like this happen.
When you are out there in the field, watch out for poison ivy or nettles or oak that your dog may chew on. This may cause him to be poisoned or have digestive problems. Know where you can bring your dog for help in case incidents like these happen.
Rules on bringing dogs to camping sites, hiking area, or in the wild may vary. Choose dog-friendly trails that allow dogs as companion. However, there are still a lot of things to consider when bringing the dog even on dog-specific trails. Not because dogs are allowed in the area would mean you can let your dog off the trail unleashed. Bring the leash and keep it on hand all throughout the hike even if your dog follows voice command. Keeping your dog controlled and in proper behavior is for his protection. This is also for the protection of the environment, other creatures around, plants and wildlife, and other hikers who are also around the area. Hiking with your dog is more enjoyable if it is hassle-free for everyone.
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