I love to be out in nature. Hiking has always been something I enjoy because it allows me to be outdoors, experiencing nature, and it’s a good way to exercise Sadie and Rusty. Of course, Sadie and Rusty love to go hiking too.
If you want to take your own dogs out hiking you will want to keep a few things in mind.
First you’ll want to make sure you have water for both you and your dogs. Be sure to bring a bowl for your dogs water. I prefer collapsible bowls because they’re easy to pack. Staying hydrated on your hike will help prevent anyone from over heating. Watch your dogs tongue, if it is hanging more than half way out of their mouths, its a sign to stop and take a break. You’ll also want to watch how your dog is walking. If your dog starts to pick up their paws quickly, it could be a sign that the ground has become too hot.
You’ll want to avoid hiking in the heat of the day. Hike in the morning or evenings to avoid overheating.
During your walk work on training your dog. Call your dog to you and have him/her sit for you. Then when he/she comes and sits for you reward him/her with a treat. Don’t forget to take a snack or lunch for yourself too.
You may want to have paw protection with you for your dog. If the ground gets too hot or you find yourself in an area covered with fox-tails or stickers you may want to put something on your dog’s paws to keep them from getting sore, cut, or burned.
During the spring, summer and early fall you’ll want to be careful of rattlesnakes. Keep an eye on your dog, don’t let them wander though bushes or tall grass where rattlesnakes like to sun themselves.
Verify dogs are permitted on the trails you are considering hiking on. Many national and state parks do not allow dogs.
Always keep a leash with you. You never know when you may come to an area/circumstance where you will need to leash your dog. The leash will give you the tool you need to keep your dog from chasing wildlife, other dogs, hikers etc.
Before you decide to take your dog out hiking make sure your dog is healthy enough and fit enough to enjoy a hike. If your dog is not very fit you can start with short excursions from home and gradually work up to long hikes though the woods.
Pay attention to your dog, he/she will know when something is approaching such as other hikers, people on horses or bikes, and animals.
When you are finished with your walk make sure to check your dog for fox-tails, stickers, and ticks. Pay special attention to your dog’s paws, ears, and under-belly.