No matter the season, it can be wonderful to step out onto the trail to go hiking with your dog. The fresh air and beauty of nature are the best backdrop for bonding with your pet among the many other benefits.
Including them in the fun can make them healthy, well-rounded companions. However, you want to make sure your dog is well prepared for the adventure. Being knowledgeable about the location you and your dog will be exploring is vital.
LED Collar and/or Light
For added safety, bring something reflective for your pet such as an LED collar or a blinking light.
Whether it’s a trail you’ve hiked in the past or a new adventure, you want to do some research on the location. Hop online and make sure that the park or trail you plan to hike allows dogs. You may also want to research the type of terrain you and your pet will be hiking on.
Get a good sense of the wildlife and vegetation that is local to the area you are planning to hike. Things like poison ivy and snakes are nothing to mess around with! Thoroughly researching the area you plan to hike will help you determine if it is safe for your dog and what you should pack.
It’s terrible to imagine anything happening to our pets on the trail, but life happens sometimes and it is best to be prepared for everything. Always be sure your pet’s ID tag is up to date and their collar fits snug, we also recommend getting them microchipped. A first aid kit and tick key are essential for outdoor enthusiasts.
Sticks and Ticks
Throughout the hike it is important to pat your dog down and make sure nothing is stuck in their feet or coat and stay aware of the wildlife that are specific to the area you may be hiking.
Water & Treats
Of course, you’ll want to bring enough fresh water for you and your pet. Collapsible bowls and zip lock baggies are a great way to contain your pets water and treats. A good packing list should be specific to your region and trail. Chances are if you think you will need it, so will your dog. Sunscreen and doggie booties are always important!
Depending on the size of your furry friend, you can have him carry some of the load!
There are several different doggie backpacks that will allow your dog to care some lightweight items such as treats, snacks and a few cold water bottles (this will help keep them cool). Just make sure that you don’t over pack your pooch!
You can’t be sure what’s around the next corner, so always keep your dog on a leash when hiking. There may be other dogs on the trail, so it is a pet parent’s job to be courteous and appropriately introduce their dogs.
Stay on Trail
Also, be sure to stay on marked paths and trails, as there may be dangerous vegetation. Rover partnered with experts at the Pet Poison Helpline to make this great resource in case of your pet does come in contact with a mysterious plant.
Leave No Trace
You will often hear many avid hikers and outdoorsmen refer the term “Leave No Trace” or LNT. National Parks and outdoor recreation areas are there for us to use and explore. However, we need to make sure we leave our environment cleaner than we found it.
Always make sure you clean up after yourself and your pet. Bring along plenty of poop bags and throw them away in acceptable trash receptacles.
We can almost guarantee not everyone will follow these simple suggestions. However, it is amazing when we see hikers picking up after others. If you see trash or other items that don’t belong, take the time to stop and pick it up. It may not be your mess, but you can help keep the area you love clean and available to hike for many years to come.
All Sizes Welcome
Many assume that pint sized pups aren’t fit for a good hike. We completely disagree!
A Dachshund can be just as active as an Australian Shepherd. We love seeing little guys out on the trials. All dogs, no matter the size should be able to get out and explore the wilderness. However, one has to remember that a small dog has to work twice as hard on the trial.
Lightweights also tend to not regulate themselves as well as larger dogs. You have to know your dog, and maybe cut the trial in half based on your dog’s size. Smaller dogs tend to be more hyper, so taking them on adventures can stimulate them and give their energy an outlet.
Another thing to keep in mind is that small dogs calorie requirements can double on hikes. Make sure you bring along plenty of snacks!
We LOVE seeing your four-legged friends on adventures! Share your outdoor excursions on social media can inspire others do the same. Make sure to tag @welovecuddly in your hiking posts.
Let us know how your hike went and if any of these tips worked out for you! #CUDDLYadventures