Taking our dogs out on hikes has to be one of these best ways to exercise them, it’s mentally and physically exhausting. But before hitting the trails, there a few things you should know.
Your dog must be kept on lead
If your dog has absolutely perfect recall, and comes when called 100% of the time, you can skip ahead. If not, you could be putting your dog or someone else in serious danger.
What if your dog approaches a dog that’s not friendly or fearful? What if your dog takes off after another animal? Imagine what would happen if your dog ran in front of a mountain bike.
Want to give your dog more freedom? They make long lines for this exact purpose! I also recommend retractable leashes here, but only when used properly. Always make sure you can see ahead of your dog and have the ability to call them back to you. Make sure you’re buying the correct size retractable leash for your dog, don’t go cheap here.
Make sure to take water and a bowl
Always make sure your dog has access to water during your hike! If it’s a hot day, I always make sure the hike has some water to swim in to cool off (Don’t ever let your dog drink water that isn’t moving, be aware of blue-green algae in the warmer months)
I love hiking packs as well for dogs who are healthy and strong enough to carry them. Always let your dog try it out, empty, on a normal walk before adding any weight or hitting the trail. Add weight slowly and never more than 25% of their body weight! Then your dog can carry their own bowl and water if your pack is full. This is great for dogs who like to work!
Don’t forget the natural flea and tick!
Be sure to spray your dog down and yourself with a natural flea and tick repellent before leaving the house.
Don’t forget to take your flea and tick comb for after your hike! Always check your dog and yourself for ticks! Ticks like to hide on your dogs feet, neck, head, and ears.
Leave No Trace
Remember to pick up after your dog. And please don’t leave poop bags on the trail. They make awesome poop bag holders that attach to your leash so you don’t have to carry them. Or make your dog carry it in their pack.
Make sure your dog has proper identification
You never know when something could happen and you get separated from your dog. Make sure your dog’s ID tags are up to date and on them. I highly recommend micro-chipping as well, make sure you keep your info up to date!
Have fun, enjoy the great outdoors! And be sure to share the trail!