Hiking with Fido
If you enjoy hiking with your best canine pal, it’s important to be aware of dangers, recommendations and general tips before hitting the trail! Here are some things to keep in mind for hiking with your dog this fall.
Your dog’s age and physical fitness level
Older dogs or dogs in poor physical health would be better to stay home with friends or caregivers; they’ll also be much safer. Young, healthy dogs are typically eager to hit the ground running (literally!).
The key thing is to make sure they have the physical conditioning to keep up with the intensity of the hike. Most importantly, keep your dog comfortably cool and consistently hydrated – hiking can be hard work! Your veterinarian can help you decide the level of activity appropriate for your dog.
Park and trail rules, regulations and etiquette
Before you pack your car and head out, call ahead to ensure the park or trail you’re visiting is pet friendly. Some parks and trails prohibit dogs, so avoid frustration by doing your research ahead of time and targeting dog-friendly sites.
Even in dog-friendly locales, leashes are a safety must and control of your dog should be maintained at all times. Take care to select a leash that will afford your dog a degree of comfort and freedom, but at the same time possess the strength and durability to keep him safe and secure.
While it is tempting to want your dog to enjoy nature’s solitude and sprint about the trees untethered, be vigilante about safety. Besides potentially disturbing other hikers, a loose dog could get lost in a large, unfamiliar space, they could end up in a confrontation with another dog, or they could encounter wildlife.
A strong, safe leash is your dog’s safest option and his best defense against becoming lost or injured. Don’t forget to secure your dog’s collar, complete with an identification tag listing your family’s contact information.
You’ve researched your hike route and ensured your dog’s safety by choosing a strong leash and identifying him in case of loss. Now it’s time for provisions!
Food and water are essential supplies to bring when going on a hike. A lightweight, collapsible water dish is a must-pack and protein-rich food and treats will maintain your dog’s strength.
The entire family should take care to hydrate with clean, cool drinking water and your dog is no different. Try not to let your dog drink unfiltered water from puddles or bodies of water, which may contain illness-causing bacteria.
Even on a family hike, the rules of “stoop and scoop” still apply. Don’t forget to pack your favourite biodegradable poop bags and most importantly – to use them! Drop soiled bags into your nearest waste receptacle upon leaving the park or trail.
Now you’re ready to get out there and enjoy the great outdoors with your furry friend!
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It is with and because of your dedication and support that helpless animals are being saved. Thank you for everything.