There is nothing that is quite so satisfying as seeing your dog wag his or her tail in joy as you start to pack up the bag for a hiking trip. Once they see you filling up the water bottle and packing up the frisbee, the dog backpack, and a bag full of snacks, they know that after a long week of being penned up at home, at long last they are headed out for the freedom of the trail.
While simply allowing your pup to enjoy the openness of the trail and the wide world around them is more than enough for them to enjoy themselves, it´s good to come up with other activities that can be done on the trail for the enjoyment of both. Below we offer seven quick dog hiking tips so that you, your dog, and other hikers also on the trail can all appreciate the hiking experience.
Clean up After Your Dog
The same dog etiquette that goes for the local park and your neighborhood sidewalk also applies to the hiking trail. Don´t irritate other hikers (who might lodge a few complaints with the park ranger) and bring along a couple plastic bags to keep the trail clean.
Bring Enough Water and Snacks for Two
It´s important to remember that when hiking with your dog, he or she has the same needs you do. If you are feeling dehydrated, chances are that your dog with his or her full coat of fur is also pretty dried out. Make sure to pack enough water and food for both of you or chart out a hike that runs next to a creek or river where abundant water is always available for your pup to cool off in.
Make Your Dog Carry His or Her Own Weight
Carrying around several gallons of water will obviously add a lot of weight to your backpack. If you don´t think your shoulders can take the extra burden of carrying supplies for two, consider buying a dog backpack that can easily and comfortably be strapped to your dog´s back so that he or she can carry her own weight, literally! You can read about dog backpacks here to find the best option for your needs and situation.
Consider Investing in a Microchip
If your pup has a bit too much energy and doesn’t exactly obey you when you call him or her to come back to your side, you might want to consider putting a small microchip onto his or her collar. Making sure that you make it back to your car with your faithful companion is an essential part of any hiking trip.
Bring Along Insect Repellant
Though your dog might not suffer the same number of stings from black flies, mosquitoes, or other pests that can reach biblical plague proportions when on the trail that you do, he or she will suffer from having them incessantly buzz around their face. To help keep both you and your dog bug free, consider purchasing an all-natural insect repellant made from essential oils to keep you and your dog smelling pleasant while also staying bug-free.
Choose a Trail that is Right for Your Dog´s Level of Fitness
Your 13-year-old lab with the beginnings of arthritis might initially show the same amount of enthusiasm for the trail as he did ten years ago, but a couple of miles down the trail he or she might start to show the inevitable signs of age. Try to design your hike for the fitness level of your pup so that they can enjoy themselves while not overdoing it.
Do the Mandatory Post Hike Pup Check
What for you was a five-mile hike was most likely a ten-mile hike for your dog who ran up and down the trail, up into the brush and woods around the trail, and anywhere else that he or she might have wanted to explore. Since dogs will most likely spend a good amount of time running through brush and thorns and bushes, it is always necessary to a do a post-hike dog check to look for ticks, burrs, thorns and any other not-so-appetizing things caught in your dog´s coat.
Simple Tips for an Amazing Hiking Trip
By following these seven simple dog hiking tips, you can make sure that both you, your dog, and the other hikers can all take pleasure in being outdoors and enjoying the natural world.