One thing that I love to do with our dog is go for a hike. She has endless energy and is anxious to listen to commands. But it’s important to follow good practices when hiking with your dog. Here are a few guidelines to follow:
Find the Right Place to Hike
Many trails do not allow dogs, so make sure that you check prior to your hike that you are allowed to bring a dog. Particularly areas that are considered a watershed are off limits to your dogs. Always check ahead of time. Go https://hikewithyourdog.com to to find out if your trail allows for wagging tails.
Another consideration is the type of trail. Mountain trails can vary greatly. Look for trails that have soft bark or leaves for hiking. Be careful with trails that have sharp rocks or large rocks that are difficult for your dog to climb. Steep drops or cliffs also have to be taken into consideration. Dogs are sure footed, but rockfall or areas with scree can be tricky for your dog to maneuver.
It’s important to remember that not everybody hiking likes dogs or wants to be around a dog. So, we need to keep trail etiquette so that you, your dog and other hikers have an enjoyable experience outdoors.
- Keep your dog on a leash at all times. The leash should be a 6’ standard leash that allows you restrain your dog quickly and easily. If your dog is able to follow very strict voice commands quickly, then you might be able to do that. Just remember, that when they get in a new environment, they may be distracted, startled or scared and not respond as normal.
- Yield the right of way. Step way off the trail to make sure your dog is far enough away from passing hikers that they don’t sniff them or scare them. In particular with bikers, make sure you step off the trail because it is difficult for them to do so.
- Horses are of particular concern when hiking. Make sure you step far off the trail and refrain your dog from barking as that might spook the horse. Keep your dog firmly by your side.
- The uphill hiker has the right away. Downhill hikers should yield and step off the trail for uphill hikers.
Food & Water
For short hikes, food may not be necessary to bring. Always bring some treats to offer your dog to keep them happy and motivated. On longer hikes that take a majority of the day, you will need to bring food for your pooch. The rule is 1 cup of food per day for every 20 pounds your dog weighs. Those numbers may need to be increased by up to 50% depending on how rigorous the hike is and the condition of your dog.
The rule of thumb for water is when you are thirsty, your dog is probably thirsty too. Keep in mind how hot it is and how conditioned your dog is to hiking. Stop regularly to drink to prevent dehydration. Remember to use clean water. Dogs can get sick from bad water, like humans, but are much less likely to show symptoms. Providing your dog with treated water is preferable.
Hiking can be so much fun with your dog. Remember to build up to longer hikes with your dog and not try to tackle too much trail before they are ready. Enjoy!