Photo credit: Bike List
Before leaving the house for your first hiking trip with your canine companion, you should be aware of these safety tips to ensuring the journey is a good one. You don’t want this to be your first and last trip out onto the trail with your dog. These safety considerations will ensure that you, your dog and other hikers are safe from harm.
One of the best ways to ensure your dog is safe out on the trail is to make sure he has had his needed vaccinations. While the number and type of vaccinations will be a personal preference and something to discuss with your veterinarian, you should make sure they are up-to-date.
Talk to your vet about how much your dog can handle too. The age, weight and general health of your dog can limit how much she can walk in one trip. You don’t want to overdo her first trip out onto the trail and have her get injured.
Packing the Essentials
While you’re packing your own food and water, don’t forget your four-legged friend. You might not need to bring water when you’re walking to the park. Hiking the trail brings a different set of dangers. Dogs can’t sweat to relieve the heat like people do. They have a higher risk of becoming overheated and thirsty when on a long hike.
You don’t want your dog drinking out of puddles on the trail, which can have bacteria and parasites in it. Bring enough water for the both of you and a collapsible bowl. Dog treats can keep their energy from flagging while hiking too. If you’re worried that you need food and water on the trail, you’ll definitely need the same for your dog.
First Aid Kit
You might not consider a first aid kit for yourself even though you should. There’s a definite need for a kit for your dog. If you don’t have booties for your dog’s paws, rough rocks and a tough trail can leave him with cuts on the pads of his feet. The pads of a dog’s feet are incredibly sensitive, and they can become cut or abraded easily.
Have ointment, bandages for cuts and wraps for sprains for both yourself and your canine companion. If you’re injured on the trail, your dog could be in trouble too. A pet first aid kit will have ice packs and emergency blankets as well as iodine and gauze.
Check for Ticks and Injuries
Your dog is running through high brush and coming close to plenty of plants that can harbor ticks and other biting insects. During the trail hike, you’ll likely stop for a small rest. This is a good time to give your dog some water and check her for cuts, ticks and burrs.
After the hike, you should do a check before getting in the car too. You don’t want to allow insects to drop from your clothing or your dog into the seats to attack later. If you find an insect, take your dog to the vet immediately. It’s important that the tick be removed intact from the dog’s skin. Leaving a part of the bug in the skin can be a serious problem.
In some areas, your dog has to be on a leash. In other areas, you don’t have to worry about the leash at all. Always have a leash and harness handy for your pet on the trail. It keeps your dog as well as other hikers safe if there’s a narrow trail and the potential for someone to fall.
You want to allow other hikers to pass without worrying about your dog. Not everyone has an appreciation for canines out on the trails, and some might even be frightened. It’s always best to have the ability to leash your dog when necessary.
It might seem natural to allow your dog to poop out in the wilderness, but it can contaminate streams as well as dirty the trail itself. Bring along bags and a small scoop to dig a hole or remove the poop. Imagine if everyone allowed their dog to eliminate on the trail. It would be a shame to have to watch your step on the trail because of dog waste.
These are some of the basic tips you should consider before heading out onto the trail with your pet. Bringing your canine pal on a hiking trip can make the activity more fun and give you both the exercise you desperately need, but you want your dog to be safe on the trip.