If you already take your dog with you everywhere, why not take him on your next adventure? Before you rush off into cross-country terrain with your dog, you both need to be prepared.
Here are some tips to help you and your furry friend enjoy the journey.
1. Practice First
Nothing ruins a lengthy walk with a dog like poor obedience skills. Before you consider heading out on the trail — or into the backcountry — with your dog, practice an array of obedience skills including “stay,” “come,” “leave it” and “heel.” Solid leash manners can ensure that both of you enjoy the hike.
2. Evaluate Endurance
Be realistic about the distance your dog will be able to successfully journey on foot. If you’re planning a long-distance hike, begin training for the hike weeks or months in advance to establish the proper endurance needed (it will help toughen up your dog’s foot pads, too). Ask your vet to evaluate your dog’s fitness and health, and discuss your intended hiking plans. If you’re planning to hike over challenging terrain, take this into account with your training, too, and consider purchasing dog booties to protect his feet.
3. Keep Him Leashed
Not only are leashes required in most public locations, but they’re really the only sure way to keep your dog completely controlled and safe. Even if your dog has excellent recall skills, you never know what unexpected critter or situation will arise on the trail. The backcountry is not where you want to be looking for a lost dog. Keeping your dog leashed is considerate behavior when it comes to other hikers, too.
4. Keep Him Tagged
It goes without saying that a collar and tags are vital when hiking with your dog in an unfamiliar location. Microchipping provides additional backup in the event your dog gets lost during the hike.
5. Avoid Bear Country
Bears and dogs are not a good mix, If you’re planning to hike in a location where any type of bear is common, it’s probably best to leave your dog out of the adventure.
6. Clean Up After Him
Cleaning up and packing out your dog’s waste will prevent harmful bacteria from spreading into a wilderness environment. Plus it’s courteous to other hikers, especially if you’re using a trail system.
7. Bring Enough Water
You might not need to bring dog food for a simple half-day hike, but water is another thing entirely. Bring enough so that you can offer your dog a drink every half hour.
8. Carry a First Aid Kit
Minor accidents can happen on the trail. Packing a first-aid kit for pets can help you deal with simple cuts and other problems. You can also create your own with items like antiseptic towelettes, gauze pads, tweezers, bandage tape and styptic powder to stop the bleeding on any broken toenails.
Ready to hit the trails or rougher terrain? Grab a can of Rip It Energy, enjoy the view and the exercise, and have fun with your dog.