The weather is warming up and as walks get longer, one starts to think about longer hikes. Just as you prepare for your own hydration, nutrition, and protection for a hike, one needs to give the same consideration to your furry hiking partner. For you silly people – I mean your dogs 😊
Your dog is just like you in the sense that level of endurance must be considered and built. If you normally walk one mile, I wouldn’t recommend hiking ten. Both of you need to build up endurance over time. You also should make sure your dog is up to date on their vaccines and flea and tick medication – also have their toe nails and paw pads inspected before heading out into the rocky wilderness.
Ready to go? Let’s prep with a great check list of things you will need:
- Fresh water and a collapsible bowl
- Food and treats
- Current ID tags and a well-fitting collar
- A sturdy leash for walking or securing your pet to a specific area
- A proper car restraint like a kennel or seatbelt
- A bed or blanket to lie on
- Doggie bags for waste
- Pad protective booties for rocky/rough terrain, snow, ice, cacti or nettles
- First aid kit
- Towel to clean your dog
- Snake bite kit (if appropriate for your area)
- Dog sunscreen/hat
- Doggie backpack for sharing the load. Use only if your dog is used to doing this.
- Phone number and address of nearest emergency veterinarian to your area of hiking.
Make sure you stop frequently to hydrate both you and your dog. Don’t feed your dog huge meal before heading out. Rather small meals along the way are better. Pace hydration and nutrition with your dog like you would for yourself.
Keep an eye out for overexertion – on both of you! For your dog, look for excessive panting, drooling, red gums, and injured paws. Look for areas of shade and cool water helps cool your dog’s paws. Small running streams are great for necessary breaks.
Keep your dog on a leash. Do I really need to say this – yes. Other people and other animals can yield to unpredictable behavior. Remember your dog is wearing a fur coat while you are in short sleeves and keep your dog out of poison ivy unless you want the whole family scratching for days.
Sermon over. Now get out there and enjoy the exercise, your dog, and some great weather ahead. Have questions? I am only a bark away!
Carolyn Lapps is the General Manager at Fetch Family Pet Resort. Her love and passion for all animals began at a young age and has led to a career. She is frequently consulted on pet socialization, family integration issues, and is highly regarded for her experience with domestic animal management and care.