With summer here, many of us choose to go camping or on hikes with our dogs. Hiking is a lot of fun and a good form of exercise for both us, and our pets. You will notice on your hikes that your dog’s keen senses will notice things that you may miss. You will also get to see your dog being a dog; many of its natural characteristics can come out. Be sure to pace yourself on your hikes if you or your dog are out of condition.
Camping is a great bonding experience and can be a joyous experience for both you and you dog too. The good thing about camping for your dog is that neither you nor your pet has to be in the best shape to enjoy yourselves.
Here are some helpful tips to be safe, and to enjoy your hikes with your dog:
- Be sure that your dog is wearing its tags. If your dog got the scent of something and ran off from you you will want to be sure that he can be safely returned to you.
- Just because you are out in the wild does not mean that you do not have to follow the rules. If you are on a marked trail it is important that you clean up after your dog if he leaves a mess on the trail.
- If your dog looks tired and needs rest, let it. If he starts panting more than normal, find some shade and let your dog cool down.
- If it is a short hike, or if your dog is an experienced hiker, than he can carry some of his own supplies. There are some excellent dog packs on the market. Just don’t let your dog carry more than 25% of its own weight.
- If you are in a park or in a public place, respect others. Remember that even if your dog is nice, some people are scared of dogs or simply do not like dogs. Keep your dog under control when in the presence of other hikers, cyclists, or campers.
- Choose your hike according to your dogs breed limitations and fitness levels. Some of the smaller breeds are not meant to go on long distance walks. To be safe, start short, and work your way up to longer hikes.
- Avoid hikes on hot, humid days. If it is hot, go on your hikes early in the morning or late in the day for cooler temperatures.
- Lastly, be sure to bring plenty of water for both you and your dog. There are many easy to carry water bottles and portable bowls on the market to choose from. Do not count on finding a clean river or stream for your dog to drink from.