As the weather continues to get nicer through the summer, it only makes sense to want to spend time with your dog in the outdoors. Hiking is a great activity that provides exercise and mental stimulation for your dog. While hiking in the perfect pastime for both you and your pet care, it is important to be prepared ahead of time for your hike so that your pup can stay safe. Below, let’s take a look at six helpful tips for a successful hike with your dog.
Know Your Pup’s Limit
Not every dog is built for endurance, and it is essential to know your dog’s limitations. Much of your pet’s endurance will be dictated by exercise and fitness level, but some of your pup’s ability is genetic. Be mindful of dogs with a shortened airway and nose, like pugs and pit bulls that may have a harder time breathing during high activity levels. Also, be aware of your pet’s age. Although older dogs still have plenty of vigor, they may be more prone to painful joints as a long hike progresses.
Stay Leashed and Safe
Although you may be the only people on a trail, you always want to prepare for the chance encounter with another dog or wild animal. It may be tempting to allow your dog to walk unleashed beside you, but it is important to keep your pup leashed. Not only will a leash help keep your pet safely by your side, but a leash can help keep your pet safe from running off in pursuit of a rabbit or squirrel.
Take Plenty of Water
Summer hikes mean dealing with summer temperatures, and it can be very easy to become dehydrated during a hike. Be sure to pack plenty of water for both yourself and your pet. You will also want to take along some sort of portable or collapsible dog bowl to make it easier for your pet to drink. Make sure you take plenty of breaks throughout your hike to allow your pet to get enough water.
Understand the Signs of Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is a real problem with pets, and it can happen quickly. Understand the signs of heat exhaustion, so you can take the right precautions to keep your pet safe. If you ever notice the following signs while on a hike with your dog, be sure to seek medical attention immediately from your preferred animal hospital:
- Difficulty walking and lack of coordination
- Excessive slobbering or drooling
- Red Gums
Be prepared to administer immediate treatment, such as keeping your pet wet and cool until you can reach an animal hospital for further evaluation and treatment.
Stay Clear of Dangerous Plants
Be sure to understand the terrain in which you are hiking and understand what plants may be dangerous to dogs. While plants may be harmless to people, they can create a toxic reaction if ingested by dogs. Be aware of different area plants, and make sure you steer clear of them on your hike.
Be Prepared for Emergency
As much as we try to avoid serious injury or illness, accidents can happen. When hiking with your dog, always be prepared for an emergency for both yourself and your pet. Make sure to pack a first aid kit outfitted with materials to help you and your pet. If hiking, you may want to include some gauze to stop bleeding on cuts and puncture wounds or a cloth stretcher to help carry your pet out of a tricky or rocky location. While we never want an accident to happen, know that a professional animal hospital can administer fast and accurate treatment to help your dog recover quickly.