Safety Tips When Taking Your Dog Hiking

Filed in Dog Health on December 20, 2021

Safety Tips When Taking Your Dog Hiking

Do you want to go hiking with your dog?

Hiking provides good exercise and allows you to experience nature, but it can be made even better when you take your dog with you.

The problem is it can be dangerous without proper precautions, especially when your dog is a little hyperactive.

In this blog post, I’ll discuss some simple tips and make sure you have all the necessary pieces of equipment to keep your dog safe on a hike.

1. Gauge Your Dog’s Fitness Level

One of the first things you should do is gauge your dog’s fitness level. Most people just think their dog will be fit enough to take on any hike, but they need conditioning just like us.

The best way to build your dog’s conditioning is to start small to build up their strength and endurance before you even go hiking.

If your dog is a puppy, elderly, overweight, or has a flat nose, you should keep these dogs on shorter hikes, so they don’t overexert themselves. While you’re hiking, keep an eye on your dog’s fatigue and be ready to cut your hike short.

2. Choose the Trail Carefully

Before going to a trial, you should pick it carefully. Don’t bring your dog to a trail where they’re not allowed to be, and make sure you read the trail rules beforehand.

If you learn the area’s rules such as leash laws and trail closures, it will prevent any mishaps when you get there.

Also, makes sure you pick the trail best suited for your dog and try to avoid any rocky trails that could potentially damage your dog’s paws.

3. Assess Trail Hazards

Another vital thing to consider is the hazards you might face along the way. Knowing the dangers before you get there will help you prepare for your journey.

Have a look to see if there’s poisonous or dangerous animals on the route; if there is, you might want to think twice about taking your dog.

Or, at the very least, you’ll be aware enough to keep your dog on a tight leash for the duration of the hike.

4. Check the Weather

family hiking with dog in a warm weather

Even if you’re going by yourself, you should check the weather before going on your hike. But, it’s even more important when you’re going with your dog.

Rainy weather comes with the risk of slipping on rocks or muddy trails, which even your dog will struggle with. And it’s not just the rain you need to watch out for:

If the weather is hot, you should avoid walking in the mid-day heat; it can be a killer for your dog, especially if you don’t have enough water.

If you’re hiking in warm weather, you should learn about the signs of dehydration to avoid any complications while you’re hiking. Things like:

  • Pale gums
  • Drooling
  • Red tongue
  • Thick & sticky saliva
  • And excessive panting

… Are all signs that your dog is suffering from dehydration and needs water as soon as possible.

5. Use a Harness and a Leash

In some hiking trails, it’s mandatory to keep your dog on the leash, but not only that, it’s just good courtesy to keep your dog under control.

And this is why I recommend using the best harness and leash combination you can find, especially on busy/dangerous trials. A good dog harness gives you more control over your dog than just using a leash.

If your dog isn’t great with other dogs or doesn’t listen to your commands, it’s a good idea to keep them on the leash at all times. The last thing you want is an angry dog owner giving you an earful.

6. Make Sure Your Dog has Identification

If your dog ever gets lost on a hiking trip, make sure they have the correct identification. Ideally, you should get your dog microchipped, but you also should have a collar with your information for quicker access to find you.

If you already have a tag, make sure all the information is up to date before hiking, so people can contact you when your dog has been found.

7. Teach Commands to Your Dog

Before going on your hike, teach your dog some commands. At the very least, they should know come back, stay, and sit, especially if you’re going to let your dog off the leash.

Some people like to give their dog emergency commands, where they drop/stop whatever they are doing and come straight back to you.

And if you’re hiking in areas with dangerous animals or livestock, teaching them to “Leave It” is very helpful. It could prevent your dog from eating/chasing something it shouldn’t.

8. Bring Plenty of Water

hiking dog drinking water

One of the most important safety tips I can give you when hiking with your dog is to bring plenty of water. Dogs can work up a sweat quickly, especially in the heat, so they’ll be extra thirsty on their hike. You’ll want to look out for signs of dehydration.

When you’re thinking about packing water, always make sure you have way more than you need; trust me, your dog will drink it.

9. Bring Treats

Even if you’re taking a short walk, you should still bring some treats with you. Having a little snack between walking will help your dog regain some of the energy they spent.

It’s also an excellent reward for hard work, good behavior, or just to keep them distracted while you pass livestock.

Final Thoughts on Hiking with Your Dog

Hiking with your dog is a lot of fun when it’s done correctly. If you follow these safety tips above, your next hiking trip should hopefully have no issues.

As you can see, some of the tips will require some time like building your dog’s conditioning and teaching them commands. Some may require research like choosing and assessing the proper trail.

Other tips are easy solutions like checking the weather, bringing water and treats, having identification, and using a harness and leash.

Let me know if you have any other tips when hiking with your dog or any additional comments.

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